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Sec; 


L-^  O 


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EXPOSITION  (      JAN  101912 


Old  and  New  Testament: 


WHEREIN 

EACH  CHAPTER  IS  SUMMED  UP"  IN  ITS  CONTENTS  ;  THE  SACRED  TEXT  INSERTED 
AT  LARGE,  IN  DISTINCT  PARAGRAPHS;  EACH  PARAGRAPH  REDUCED 
,  TO  ITS  PROPER  HEADS  ;  THE  SENSE  GIVEN, 

AND  LARGELY  ILLUSTRATED 


PRACTICAL   REMARKS   AND   OBSERVATIONS: 


BY  MATTHEW  HENRY, 

LATE  MINISTER  OF  THE  GOSPEL. 


A  NEW  ESXTXON:  * 

EDITED  BT 

THE  REV.  GEORGE  BURDER,  AND  THE  REV.  JOSEPH  HUGHES,  A.  M. 

WITH    THE 

LIFE    OF    THE    AUTHOR, 

BT  THE 
REV.  SAMUEL  PALMER, 


VOL.   V. 


PHILADELPHIA : 

ED.  BARRINGTON  &  (?E0.  D.  HASWELL, 

MARKET  STREET. 


AN 


EXPOSITION, 


WITH 


PRACTICAL    OBSERVATIONS, 


ON  THK 


FOUR  FIRST  BOOKS 


OF   THE 


IVEW    TESTAMENT; 


NAMELY, 

ST.  MATTHEW,  B  ST.  LUKE,  akb 

ST.  MARK,  |l  ST.  JOHN. 


THE 


PREFACE 


FOUR  EVANGELISTS, 


AND  THB 


ACTS  OF  THE  APOSTLES. 


THE  one  half  of  our  undertaking  upon-the  New  Testament  is  now,  by  the  assistance  of  Divine  grace, 
finished,  and  presented  to  the  reader,  wlio,  it  is  hoped,  the  Lord  working  witli  it,  may  hereby  b« 
somewhat  helped  in  understanding  and  improving  the  sacred  history  of  Christ  and  his  apostles,  and  in 
making  it,  as  it  certainly  is,  the  best  exposition  of  our  creed,  in  which  these  inspired  writers  are  summed 
up  ;  which  is  intimated  by  that  Evangelist,  who  calls  his  gospel,  A  Dedaration  of  those  things  which  are 
most  surely  believed  among  us,  Luke  1.  1. 

And  as  there  is  no  part  of  scripture  which  it  concerns  us  more  to  be  well  established  in  the  belief  of,  so 
there  is  none  which  the  generality  of  christians  are  more  conversant  with,  or  speak  of  more  frequently. 
It  is  therefore  our  duty,  by  constant  pains  in  meditation  and  prayer,  to  come  to  an  intimate  acquaintance 
with  the  true  intent  and  meaning  ot  these  nari-ativcs,  what  our  concern  is  in  them,  and  what  we  are  to 
build  upon  them,  and  di-aw  from  them  ;  that  we  may  not  rest  in  such  a  knowledge  of  them  as  that  which 
we  had,  when  in  our  childhood  we  were  taught  to  read  English  out  of  the  translation,  and  Greek  out  of 
the  originals,  of  these  books.  We  ought  to  know  them  as  the  physician  does  his  dispcnsatoiy,  the  lawyer 
his  books  of  reports,  and  the  sailor  his  chart  and  compass  ;  that  is,  to  know  how  to  make  use  of  them'  in 
that  which  we  apply  ourselves  to  as  our  business  in  this  world,  which  is,  to  serve  God  here,  and  enjoy  him 
hereafter,  and  both  in  Christ  the  Mediator. 

The  great  designs  of  the  christian  institutes,  (which  these  books  are  the  fountains  and  foundations  of,) 
were,  to  reduce  the  children  of  men  to  the  fear  and  love  of  God,  as  the  commanding,  acti\"e  principle  ot 
their  obser\'ance  of  him,  and  obedience  to  him  ;  to  show  them  the  way  of  their  reconciliation  to  him,  and 
acceptance  with  him  ;  and  to  bring  them  under  obligations  to  Jesus  Christ  as  Mediator  ;  and  thereby  to 
engage  them  to  all  instances  of  devotion  toward  God,  and  justice  and  charity  towards  all  men,  in  con- 
formity to  the  example  of  Christ,  in  obedience  to  his  law,  and  in  pursuance  of  his  great  intentions.  What 
therefore  I  have  endeavoured  here,  has  been  with  this  view,  to  make  these  writings  seniceable  to  the 
faith,  noliness,  and  comfort  of  good  christians. 

Now  tliat  these  writings,  thus  made  use  of  to  ser\-e  these  great  and  noble  designs,  may  have  their  due 
influence  upon  us,  it  concerns  us  to  be  well  established  in  our  belief  of  their  divine  original.  And  here  we 
have  to  do  with  two  sorts  of  jieople.  Some  embrace  the  Old  Testament,  but  set  that  up  in  opposition  to 
the  New,  pleading  that  if  that  be  right  this  is  wrong  ;  and  these  are  the  Jews.  Others,  though  they  live 
in  a  christian  nation,  and  by  baptism  wear  the  christian  name,  vet,  under  pretence  of  freedom  of  thought, 
despise  Christianity,  and,  consequentlv,  reject  the  New  Testament,  and  therefore  the  Old,  of  course. 

I  confess  it  is  strange,  that  any  now  who  receive  the  Old  Testament  should  reject  the  New ;  since, 
beside  all  the  particular  proofs  of  the  di\ine  authority  of  the  New  Testament,  there  is  such  an  admirable 
harmony  between  it  and  the  Old.  It  agrees  Avith  the  Old,  in  all  the  main  intentions  of  it,  refers  to  it, 
builds  upon  it.  shows  the  accomplishment  of  its  t\pcs  and  prophecies,  and  thereby  is  the  perfection  and 
crown  of  it.  Nay,  if  it  be  not  tnic,  the  Old  Testament  must  be  false  ;  and  all  tlie  glorious  promises  which 
shine  so  brightly  in  it,  and  the  performance  of  which  was  limited  within  certain  periods  of  time,  must  be 
a  g^cat  delusion  ;  which  v.e  are  sure  they  are  not ;  and  therefore  must  embrace  the  New  Testament  to 
support  the  reputation  of  the  Old. 

That  in  tlic  Old  Testament  which  the  New  Testament  lavs  aside,  is,  the  peculiarity  of  the  Jewish 
nation,  and  the  (>t)ser\'ances  of  the  ceremonial  law  ;  both  which  certainly  were  of  divine  appointment ; 
arid  yet  the  New  Testament  does  not  at  all  clash  with  the  Old  ;  for, 

1.  They  were  always  designed  to  be  laid  aside  in  the  fulness  of  time.  No  other  is  to  be  expected  than 
that  the  morning-star  should  disappear  when  the  sun  rises  ;  and  the  latter  parts  of  the  Old  Testament 
often  speak  of  the  laying  aside  of  those  things,  and  of  the  calling  in  of  the  Gentiles. 

2.  They  were  very  honoiu-ablv  laid  aside,  and  i-ather  exchanged  for  that  which  was  more  noble  and 
excellent,  more  di\ine  and  I-.eavenh'.  The  Jewish  church  was  swallowed  up  in  the  christian,  the  Mosaic 
ritual  in  evangelical  institutions.  So  that  the  New  Testament  is  no  more  the  undoing  of  the  Old,  than  the 
sending  of  a  youth  to  the  uni\  ersity  is  the  undoing  of  his  education  in  the  grammar-school. 


vi  PREFACE. 

3.  Providence  soon  determined  this  controversy,  (which  is  tl  e  only  thing  that  seemed  a  controversy 
between  the  Old  Testament  and  the  New,)  by  the' destruction  of  Jerusalem,  the  desolations  of  the  temple, 
the  dissolution  of  the  temple-service,  and  the  total  dispersion  of  aU  the  remains  of  the  Jewish  nation  ;  with 
a  judicial  defeat  of  all  the  attempts  to  incorporate  it  again,  now  for  above  1600  years  ;  and  this,  according 
to  the  express  predictions  of  Christ,  a  little  before  his  death.  And,  as  Clirist  would  not  have  the  doctrine 
of  his  being  the  Messiah  much  insisted  on,  till  the  great  conclusive  proof  of  it  was  given  by  his  resurrection 
from  the  dead  ;  so  the  repeal  of  the  ceremonial  law,  as  to  the  Jews,  was  not  much  insisted  on,  but  their 
keeping  up  the  observation  of  it  was  connived  at,  till  tlie  great  conclusi\  e  proof  of  its  repeal  was  given, 
by  the  destruction  of  Jerasalem,  which  made  the  obsenation  of  it  for  ever  impracticable.  And  the 
manifest  tokens  of  divine  wrath,  which  the  Jews,  considered  as  a  people,  even  notwithstanding  the  pros- 
perity o(  particular  persons  among  them,  continue  under  to  this  day,  is  a  proof,  not  only  of  the  truth  of 
Christ's  predictions  concerning  them,  but  that  they  lie  under  a  greater  guilt  than  that  of  idolatry,  (for 
which  they  lay  under  a  desolation  of  70  years,)  and  that  can  be  no  other  than  crucifying  Christ,  and 
rejecting  his  gospel. 

Thus  evident  it  is,  that  in  our  expounding  of  the  New  Testament,  we  are  not  undoing  what  we  did  in 
expounding  the  Old  ;  so  far  from  it,  that  we  may  appeal  to  the  law  and  the  prophets  for  the  confirmation 
of  the  great  tnith  which  the  gospels  are  ivritten  to  prove — That  our  Lord  Jesus  is  the  Messiah  promised 
to  the  fechers,  who  should  come,  and  we  are  to  look  for  no  other.  For  though  his  appearing  did  not 
answer  the  expectation  of  the  carnal  Jews,  who  looked  for  a  Messiah  in  external  pomp  and  power,  yet  it 
exactly  answered  all  the  tv'pes,  prophecies,  and  promises  of  the  Old  Testament,  which  all  had  their 
accomplishment  in  him  ;  and  even  his  ignominious  sufferings,  which  are  the  greatest  stumbling-block  to 
the  Jews,  were  foretold  concerning  the  Messiah  ;  so  that  if  he  had  not  submitted  to  them,  we  had  failed 
in  our  proof;  so  far  it  is  from  being  weakened  by  them.  Bishop  Kidder's  Demonstration  of  the  Christian's 
Messiah,  has  abundantly  made  out  this  truth,  and  answered  the  cavils  (for  such  they  are,  rather  than 
arguments)  of  the  Jews  against  it,  abo^•e  any  in  our  language. 

But  we  live  in  an  age  when  Christianity  and  the  New  Testament  are  more  vii-ulently  and  daringly 
attacked  by  some  within  their  ovm  bowels,  than  by  those  upon  their  borders.  Never  were  Moses  and  his 
writings  so  arraigned  and  ridiculed  by  any  Jews,  or  Mahomet  and  his  Alcoran  by  any  Mussulmen,  as  Christ 
and  his  gospel  by  men  that  are  baptized  and  called  Christians  ;  and  this,  not  under  colour  of  any  other 
divine  revelation,  but  in  contempt  and  defiance  of  all  divine  revelation  ;  and  not  by  way  of  complaint,  that 
they  meet  with  that  which  shocks  their  faith,  and  which,  through  their  own  weakness,  they  cannot  get 
over,  and  therefore  desire  to  be  insti-ucted  in,  and  helped  in  the  understanding  of,  and  the  reconciling  of 
them  to  the  tiiith  which  they  have  received  ;  but  by  way  of  resolute  opposition,  as  if  they  looked  upon  it 
as  their  enemy,  and  were  resolved  by  all  means  possible  to  be  the  ruin  or  it ;  though  they  cannot  say  what 
evil  it  has  done  to  the  world,  or  to  them.  If  the  pretence  of  it  has  transported  many  in  the  church  of 
Rome  into  such  corruptions  of  worship  and  cruelties  of  government  as  are  indeed  the  scandal  of  human 
nature,  yet,  instead  of  being  thereby  prejudiced  against  pure  Christianity,  they  should  the  rather  appear 
more  vigorously  in  defence  of  it,  when  they  see  so  excellent  an  institution  as  that  is  in  itself,  so  basely 
abused  and  misrepresented. 

They  pretend  to  a  liberty  of  thought  in  their  opposition  to  Christianity,  and  would  be  distinguished  by 
the  name  of  Freethinkers.  I  will  not  here  go  about  to  produce  the  arguments  which,  to  all  that  are  not 
wilfiilly  ignorant  and  prejudiced  against  the  truth,  are  sufficient  to  p^o^■e  the  divine  original  and  authority 
of  the  doctrine  of  Christ.  The  learned  find  much  satisfaction  in  reading  the  apologies  of  the  ancients  for 
the  christian  religion,  when  it  was  struggling  with  the  polrtheism  and  idolatry  of  the  Gentiles.  Justin 
Martyr  and  TertuUian,  Lactantius  and  Minuiius  Felix,  wrote  admirably  in  defence  of  Christianity,  when 
it  was  further  sealed  by  the  blood  of  the  Martyrs. 

But  its  patrons  and  advocates  in  the  present  day  have  another  sort  of  enemies  to  deal  with.  The  antiquity 
of  the  pagan  theology,  its  unixersal  prevalence,  the  edicts  of  princes,  and  the  traditions  and  usages  of  the 
country,  are  not  now  objected  to  chnstianity  ;  but  I  know  not  what  imaginar)'  freedom  of  thought,  and  an 
luiheard  of  privilege  of  human  nature,  are  assumed,  not  to  be  bound  by  any  divine  revelation  whatsoever. 

Now  it  is  easy  to  make  out, 

1.  That  those  who  would  be  thought  thus  to  maintain  a  liberty  of  thinking,  as  one  of  the  privileges  of 
human  nature,  and  in  defence  of  which  thev  will  take  up  arms' against  God  himself,  do  not  themselves 
think  freely,  nor  give  others  leave  to  do  so.  In  some  of  them,  a  resolute  indulgence  of  themselves  in  those 
vicious  courses  which  they  know  the  gospel,  if  they  admit  it,  will  make  very  uneasy  to  them,  and  a  secret 
enmity  to  a  holy,  heavenly  mind  and  life,  forbid  them  all  free  thought ;  for  so  strong  a  prejudice  have  their 
lusts  and  passions  laid  them  under  against  the  laws  of  Christ,  that  they  find  themselves  under  a  necessity 
of  opposing  the  truths  of  Christ,  upon  which  these  laws  arc  founded.  Peril  judicium,  quando  res  transit 
in  affectum — The  judgment  is  overcome,  when  the  decision  is  referred  to  the  affections.  Kight  or  wrong, 
Christ's  bonds  must  be  broken,  and  his  cords  cast  from  them  ;  and  therefore,  how  evident  soever  the 
premises  be,  the  conclusion  must  be  denied,  if  it  tend  to  fasten  these  bands  and  cords  upon  them  ;  and 
wnere  is  the  freedom  of  thought  then  ?  While  they  fir omise  themselves  liberty,  they  themselves  are  the  ser- 
vants of  corrufition  ;  for  of  nvhom  a  man  is  overcome,  of  the  same  is  he  brought  in  bondage. 

In  others  of  tliem,  a  reigning  pride  and  affectation  of  singularity,  and  a  spirit  of  contradiction,  those  lusts 
of  the  mind,  wliich  are  as  impetuous  and  imperious  as  any  cf  the  lusts  of  the  flesh  and  of  the  world,  forbid 
a  fi'eedom  of  thinking,  and  enslave  the  soul  in  all  its  inquiries  after  religion.  Those  can  no  more  think 
freely,  who  resolve  they  will  think  by  themselves,  than  those  can,  who  resolve  to  think  with  their  neigh- 
bours. 

Nor  will  they  give  others  liberty  to  think  freelv  ;  for  it  is  not  by  reason  and  argument  that  they  go  about 
to  convince  us,  but  by  jest  and  banter,  and  exposing  Christianity  and  its  serious  professors  to  contempt. 
Now,  considering  how  natural  it  is  to  most  men  to  be  jealous  for  their  reputation,  this  is  as  gi-eat  an  impo- 
sition as  can  possibly  be  ;  and  the  unthinking  are  as  much  kept  from  freethinking  by  the  fear  of  being 
ridiculed  in  the  club  of  those  who  set  up  for  oracles  in  reason,  as  by  the  fear  of  being  cursed,  excommu- 
nicated, and  anathematized,  by  the  counsel  of  those  who  set  up  for  oracles  in  religion.  And  where  is  the 
freethinking  then  ? 

2.  That  those  who  will  allow  themselves  a  true  liberty  of  thinking,  and  will  think  seriously,  cannot  but 
embrace  all  Christ's  sayings  as  faithful,  and  well  tuorthy  of  all  accefitation.    Let  the  corrupt  ^ias  of  the 


PREFACE.  vii 

camal  heart  toward  the  world,  and  the  flesh,  and  self  (the  most  presumptuous  idol  of  the  three)  be  taken 
away,  and  let  the  doctrine  of  Christ  be  proposed  first  in  its  true  colours,  as  Christ  :ind  his  apostles  have 
given  it  us,  and  in  its  true  liijht,  with  all  its  pi-ojjcr  evidence,  intrinsic  and  extrinsic  ;  and  then  let  the 
capable  soul  freelv  use  its  rational  powers  ai\d  faculties,  and  by  the  operation  of  the  Spirit  of  grace,  who 
alone  works  faith  in  all  that  believe,  even  the  high  thought,  wlicn  once  it  becomes  a  free  thought,  freed 
from  the  bondage  of  sin  and  corruption,  will,  by  a  pleasmg  and  happv  power,  be  captivated,  and  brought 
into  obedience  to  Christ ;  and  when  he  thus  makes  it  frer,  it  will  l)e  fnv  indeed. 

Let  any  one  who  will  give  himself  leave  to  tliiuk  impartiallv,  and  be  at  the  pains  to  think  closely,  read 
Mr.  Baxter's  Reasons  for  the  Christian  Ketii(ion  ;  and  he  will  find,  both  that  it  goes  to  the  bottom,  and 
lays  the  foundation  deep  and  firm,  and  also  that  it  brings  forth  the  top-stone  in  a  believer's  consent  to  ( jod 
in  Christ,  to  the  satisfaction  of  an\-  that  arc  tnily  concerned  about  their  souls  and  another  world.  The 
proofs  of  the  truths  of  the  gospel  have  been  excellently  well  methodized,  and  enforced  likewise,  by  Bishop 
Stillingfleet,  in  his  Origines  Sacra  ;  by  Grotius,  in  his  book,  Of  the  Truth  of  the  Christian  Kcligion  ;  by 
Dr.  \Vhitby,  in  his  General  Preface  to  his  Commentary  on  the  -A'ciy  Testament ;  and  of  late  by  Mr.  Ditton, 
very  argurnentativelv,  in  his  discourse  concerning  the  Resurrection  of  Jesus  Christ ;  and  many  others 
have  herein  done  worthily.  And  I  will  not  believe  any  man  who  rejects  the  New  Testament  and  the 
christian  Religion,  to  have  thought  freely  upon  the  subject,  unless  he  has,  with  humility,  seriousness,  and 
prayer  to  God  for  direction,  deiiberately  read  these  or  the  like  books,  which,  it  is  certain,  were  written 
botfi  with  liberty  and  clearness  of  thought 

For  my  own  part,  if  my  thoughts  were  worth  anv  one's  notice,  I  do  declare,  I  have  thought  of  this  great 
concern,  with  all  the  liberty  that  a  reasonable  soul  can  pretend  to,  or  desire  ;  and  that  the  result  is,  that 
the  more  I  think,  and  the  more  freely  I  think,  the  more  fully  I  am  satisfied  that  the  christian  Religion  is 
the  true  Religion,  and  that  which,  if  I  submit  my  soul  sincerely  to  it,  1  may  venture  my  soul  confidently 
upon. 

For  when  I  thijik  freely, 

First,  I  cannot  but  thirik  that  the  God  who  made  man  a  reasonable  creature  by  his  power,  has  a  right 
to  rule  him  by  his  law,  and  to  oblige  him  to  keep  his  inferior  faculties  of  appetite  and  passion,  together 
■with  the  capacities  of  thought  and  speech,  in  due  subjection  to  the  superior  powers  of  reason  and  con- 
science. And  when  I  look  into  my  own  heart,  I  cannot  but  think  that  this  was  it  which  my  Maker  de- 
signed in  the  order  and  frame  of  my  soul,  and  that  herein  he  intended  to  sxipport  his  own  dominion  in  me. 

Secondlu,  I  cannot  but  think  that  mv  happiness  is  bound  up  in  the  favour  of  God,  and  that  his  favour 
will,  or  win  not,  be  toward  me,  according  as  I  do,  or  do  not,  comply  with  the  laws  and  ends  of  mv  crea- 
tion. That  I  am  accountable  to  this  God  ;  and  that  from  him  my  judgment  proceeds,  not  only  for  this 
world,  but  for  my  everlasting  state. 

Thirdly,  I  cannot  but  think  that  my  nature  is  ver\'  unlike  what  the  nature  of  man  was,  as  it  came  out  of 
the  Creator's  hands  ;  that  it  is  degenerated  from  its  primitive  purity  and  rectitude.  I  find  in  myself  a 
natural  aversion  to  my  duty,  and  to  spii-itual  and  divine  exercises,  and  a  propensity  to  that  which  is  evil  ; 
such  an  inclination  toward  the  world  and  the  flesh,  as  amounts  to  a  propensity  to  backslide  from  th«  living 
God.  1-    1         . 

Fourthly,  I  cannot  but  think  that  I  am  therefore,  bv  nature,  thrown  out  of  the  favour  of  God  ;  for  though 
I  think  he  is  a  gracious  and  merciful  God,  yet  I  think  he  is  also  a  just  and  holy  God,  and  that  I  am  become, 
by  sin,  both  odious  to  his  holiness,  and  obnoxious  to  his  justice.  I  should  not  think  freely,  but  ven^  par- 
tially, if  I  should  think  otherwise.  I  think  I  am  guilty  before  God,  have  sinned,  and  come  short  of  glori- 
fying him,  and  of  being  glorified  with  him. 

Fifthly,  I  cannot  but  think  that,  without  some  special  discovery-  of  God's  will  concerning  me,  and  good 
will  to  me,  I  cannot  possibly  recover  his  favour,  be  reconciled  to  him,  or  be  so  far  restored  to  my  primi- 
tive rectitude,  as  to  be  capable  of  serving  my  Creator,  and  answering  the  ends  of  my  creation,  and  becom- 
ing fit  for  another  world.  For  the  bounties  of  Providence  to  me,  in  common  with  the  inferior  creatures, 
cannot  sen-e  either  as  assurances  that  God  is  reconciled  to  me,  or  means  to  reconcile  me  to  God. 

Sixthly,  I  cannot  but  think  that  the  way  of  salvation,  both  from  the  guilt  and  from  the  power  of  sin,  by 
Jesus  Christ,  and  his  mediation  between  God  and  man,  as  it  is  revealed  by  the  New  Testament,  is  admi- 
rably well  fitted  to  all  the  exigencies  of  mv  case,  to  restore  me  both  to  the  fa^■our  of  God  and  to  the 
govemment  and  enjoyment  of  myself.  Here  I  see  a  proper  method  for  the  removing  of  the  guilt  of  sin, 
(that  I  may  not  die  by  the  sentence  of  the  law,)  by  the  all-sufficient  merit  and  righteousness  of  the  Son  of 
God  in  our  nature  ;  and,  for  the  breaking  of  the  power  of  sin,  (that  I  may  not  die  by  my  own  disease,)  by 
the  all-sufficient  influence  and  operation  of  the  Spirit  of  God  upon  our  nature.  Every  malady  has  herein 
its  remedy,  every  grievance  is  hereby  redressed,  and  in  such  a  way  as  advances  the  honour  of  all  the  divine 
attributes,  and  is  suited  and  accommodated  to  human  nature. 

Seventhly,  I  cannot  but  think  that  what  I  find  in  myself  of  natural  religion,  does  evidently  bear  testimony 
to  the  christian  religion  ;  for  all  that  truth  which  is  discovered  to  me  by  the  light  of  nature,  is  confirmed, 
and  more  clearly  discovered,  by  the  gospel ;  the  very  same  thing  which  the  light  of  nature  gives  me  a 
confused  sight  of,  (like  the  sight  of  men  as  trees  walking.)  the  New  Testament  gives  me  a  clear  and  dis- 
tinct sight  of.  All  that  good  which  is  pressed  upon  me  by  the  law  of  nature,  is  more  fully  discovered  tc 
me,  and  I  find  myself  much  more  strongly  bound  to  it,  by  the  gospel  of  Christ,  the  engagements  it  lays 
upon  me  to  my  duty,  and  the  encouragements  and  assistances  it  gives  me  in  my  duty.  And  this  is  furthei 
confirming  to  me,  that  thei-e,  just  there,  where  natural  light  leaves  me  at  a  loss,  and  unsatisfied — tells  me 
that  hitherto  it  can  carry  me,  but  no  further — the  gospel  takes  me  up,  helps  me  out,  and  gives  me  all  the 
satisfaction  I  can  desire,  and  that  is  especially  in  the  great  business  of  the  satisfying  of  God's  justice  for 
the  sin  of  man.  I\Iv  own  conscience  asks,  Whercvith  shall  I  come  before  the  Lord,  and  bow  myself  before 
the  most  high  God?  Jllll  he  be  fileased  with  thousands  of  rams  ?  But  I  am  still  at  a  loss;  I  cannot 
frame  a  righteousness  from  any  thing  I  am,  or  have,  in  myself,  or  from  any  thing  I  can  do  for  God  or  pi^e- 
sent  to  God,  wherein  I  dare  appear  before  him  :  but  the  gospel  comes  and  tells  me,  that  Jesus  Christ  has 
made  his  soul  an  offering  for  sin,  and  God  has  declared  himself  well  pleased  with  all  believers  in  him  ; 
and  this  makes  me  easy. 

FAghthly,  I  cannot  but  think  that  the  proofs  by  which  God  has  attested  the  truth  of  the  gospel,  are  the 
■nost  proper  that  could  be  given  in  a  case  of  this  nature — That  the  power  and  autliority  of  the  Redeemer 
n  the  kingdom  of  grace  should  be  exemplified  to  the  world,  not  by  the  highest  degree  of  the  pomp  and 


viii  PREFACE. 

authority  of  the  kings  of  the  earth,  as  the  Jews  expected,  but  by  the  evidences  of  his  dcminion  in  the  kiig- 
dom  of  nature  ;  which  is  a  much  greater  dignity  and  autliority  than  any  of  the  kings  of  the  earth  ever  pre- 
tended to,  and  is  no  less  than  divine.  And  his  miracles,  being  generally  wrought  upon  men,  not  only  upon 
their  bodies,  as  they  were  mostly  when  Christ  was  here  upon  earth,  but,  which  is  more,  upon  their  minds, 
as  they  were  mostly  after  the  pouring  out  of  the  Spirit  in  the  gift  of  tongues  and  other  supernatural  endow- 
ments, were  the  most  proper  confirmations  possible  of  the  truth  of  the  gospel,  which  was  designed  for  the 
making  of  men  holy  and  happy. 

A^inthhj,  I  cannot  but  thinli  that  the  methods  taken  for  the  propagation  of  this  gospel,  and  the  wonder 
ful  success  of  those  methods,  which  are  purely  sijiritual  and  heavenly,  and  destitute  of  all  secular  advaii 
tages  and  supports,  plainly  show  that  it  was  of  God,  for  God  was  with  it,  and  it ;  could  never  have  spread 
as  it  did,  in  the  face  of  so  much  opposition,  if  it  had  not  been  accompanied  with  a  power  from  on  high. 
And  the  preservation  of  Christianity  in  the  world  to  this  day,  notwithstanding  the  difficulties  it  has  stnjg 
gled  with,  is  to  me  a  standing  miracle  for  the  proof  of  it. 

Lastly,  I  cannot  but  think  that  the  gospel  of  Christ  has  had  some  influence  upon  mv  soul,  has  had  such 
a  command  over  me,  and  been  such  a  comfort  to  me,  as  is  a  demonstration  to  myself,  though  it  cannot  be 
so  to  another,  that  it  is  of  God.  I  have  tasted  in  it,  that,  the  Lord  is  gracious  ;  and  the  most  subtle  dis 
putant  cannot  convince  one  who  has  tasted  honey,  that  it  is  not  sweet. 

And  now  I  appeal  to  Him  who  knows  the  thoughts  and  intents  of  the  heart,  that  in  all  this  I  think 
freely,  (if  it  be  possible  for  a  man  to  know  that  he  does  so.)  and  not  under  the  power  of  any  bias.  Whether 
we  have  reason  to  think  that  those  who  without  any  colour  of  reason,  not  only  usuip,  but  monopolize,  the 
character  of  Freethi/i/cers,  do  so,  let  those  judge,  who  easily  observe  that  they  do  not  speak  sincerely,  but 
industriously  dissemble  their  notions  ;  and  one  instance  I  cannot  b\it  notice,  of  their  unfair  dealing  with 
their  readers — th&t  when,  for  the  diminishing  of  the  authority  of  the  New  Testament,  they  urge  the 
various  readings  of  the  original,  and  quote  an  acknowledgment  of  Mr.  Gregoiy  of  Christ  Church,  in  his 
preface  to  his  Works,  That  no  profane  author  whatsoever,  iJ'c.  and  yet  suppress  what  immediately  follows, 
as  the  sense  of  that  learned  man  upon  it.  That  this  is  an  invincible  reason  for  the  scri/iturcs'  /lart,  Is'c. 

We  then  receive  the  books  of  the  New  Testament  as  our  oracles  ;  for  it  is  evident  that  that  excellent 
notion  of  Dr.  Hemy  More's  is  tnie,  that  "  they  have  a  direct  tendency  to  take  us  off  from  the  animal  life, 
and  to  being  us  to  the  divine  life." 

But  while  we  are  thus  maintaining  the  divine  original  and  authority  of  the  New  Testament,  as  it  has 
been  received  through  all  the  ages  of  the  church,  we  find  our  cause  not  only  attacked  by  the  enemies  we 
speak  of,  but,  in  effect,  betrayed  by  one  who  makes  our  New  Testament  almost  double  to  what  it  really 
is,  adding  to  it  the  Constitutions  of  the  Jlfiostles,  collected  by  Clement,  together  with  the  Jlp.ostolical  Canons, 
and  making  those  to  be  of  equal  authority  with  the  writings  of  the  Evangelists,  and  preferable  to  the 
Epistles.  By  enlarging  the  lines  of  defence  thus,  without  either  cause  or  precedent,*  he  gives  great 
advantage  to  the  invaders. 

Those  Constitutions  of  the  Ajiostlcs  have  many  things  in  them  veiy  good,  and  may  be  of  use,  as  other 
human  compositions.  But  to  pretend  that  they  were  composed,  as  they  profess  themselves  to  be,  by  the 
twelve  apostles  in  concert  at  Jenasalem,  I  Peter,  snyuig  this,  I  Andrew,  saying  that,  isfc.  is  the  greates' 
imposition  that  can  be  practised  upon  tlie  credulity  of  the  simple. 

1.  It  is  certain,  there  were  a  great  many  spurious  writings  which,  in  the  early  days  of  the  church,  went 
under  the  names  of  the  apostles  and  apostolical  men  ;  so  that  it  has  been  always  complained  of  as  impos- 
sible to  find  out  any  thing  but  the  canon  of  scripture,  that  could  with  any  assurance  be  attributed  to  them. 
Baronius  himself  acknowledges  it.  Cum  afiostolorum  nomine  tarn  facta  <juam  dicta  re/ierianlur  esse  sit/i 
posititia ;  nee  sic  quid  de  illis  a  vciis  sincerisque  scrijitoribus  narratum  sit  integrum  et  incorru/itum  reman- 
serit,  in  desjierationem plane  quandam  animum  dejiciunt  posse  unquam  assequi  quod  verum  certiimque 
subsistat — Since  so  many  of  the  acts  and  sayings  asc7-ibed  to  the  a/iostles  are  found  to  be  spurious,  and  even 
the  narrations  of  faithful  writers  respecting  them  are  jiot  free  from  corruption,  we  Tiust  despair  of  eva 
being  able  to  arrive  at  any  absolute  certainty  about  them.  Ad.  An.  Christ.  44.  sect.  4  ?,  Sec.  There  were 
Acts  under  the  names  of  Andrew  the  apostle,  Pliilij),  Peter,  Thomas  ;  a  Gospel  under  the  name  of  Thad- 
deus,  another  of  Barnabas,  another  of  Bartholomew  ;  a  book  concerning  the  infancy  of  our  Saviour, 
another  concerning  his  nati\'ity,  and  many  the  like,  which  were  all  rejected  as  forgeries. 

2.  These  Constitutioris  and  Canons,  an^ong  the  rest,  were  condemned  in  the  primiti\  c  church  as  apocrj'- 
phal,  and  therefore  justly  rejected  ;  because,  though  otherwise  good,  they  pretended  to  be  what  really 
they  were  not,  dictated  by  the  twelve  apostles  themselves,  as  received  from  Christ.  If  Jesus  Christ  gave 
them  such  instnictions,  and  they  gave  them  in  such  a  solemn  manner  to  the  church,  as  is  pretended,  it  is 
unaccountable  that  there  is  not  the  least  notice  taken  of  any  such  tiling  done  or  designed  in  the  Gospels, 
the  Acts,  or  any  of  the  E/tistles. 

They  who  have  judged  the  most  favourably  of  those  Canons  and  Constitutions,  have  concluded  that  they 
were  compiled  by  some  officious  persons  under  the  name  of  Clement,  toward  the  end  of  the  second  cen- 
tury, above  150  years  after  Christ's  ascension,  out  of  the  common  practice  of  the  churches  ;  that  is,  that 
which  the  compilers  were  most  acquainted  with,  or  had  respect  for  ;  when  at  the  same  time  we  have 
reason  to  think  that  the  far  greater  number  of  christian  churches  which  by  that  time  were  planted,  had 
Constitutions  of  their  own,  which  if  they  had  had  the  happiness  to  be  transmitted  to  posterity,  would  have 
recommended  themselves  as  well  as  these,  or  better.  But  as  the  legislators  of  old  put  a  reputation  upor 
their  laws,  by  pretending  to  have  received  them  from  some  deity  or  other,  so  church-governors  studied 
to  gain  reputation  to  their  sees,  by  placing  some  apostolical  man  or  other  at  the  head  of  their  catalogue  of 
bishops,  (^See  Bishop  Stillingjleet's  Iroricum,  fi.  302.)  and  reputation  to  their  Canons  and  Constitutions,  by 
fathering  them  upon  the  apostles. 

But  how  can  it  be  imagined  that  the  apostles  should  be  all  together  at  Jertisalem,  to  compose  this  book 
of  Canons  with  so  much  solemnity,  when  we  know  that  their  commission  was  to  go  into  all  the  world,  and 
to  preach  the  gospel  to  every  creature.  Accordinglv,  Eusebius  tells  us  that  Thomas  went  into  Parthia, 
Andrew  into  Scythia,  John  into  the  lesser  Asia  ;  and  we  have  reason  to  think  that  after  their  dispersion 
they  never  came  together  again,  any  more  than  the  planters  of  the  nations  did  after  the  Most  High  had 
separated  the  sons  of  Adam. 

•  WhiMon.-Ed. 


PREFACE.  IX 

I  think  that  any  one  who  will  compare  these  Constitutioiia  with  the  writings  which  we  arc  sine  were 
given  by  ins])iration  of  God,  will  easily  discern  a  vast  difference  in  the  style  iuid  spirit     Uliat  ia  the  chaff 

to  the  ivhcat  ? 

*  "  Where  are  ministers,  in  the  style  of  the  true  ajjostles,  called  priests,  high  i)i-icsts  ?  ^^^K•re  do  we 
"  find  in  the  apostoliciU  age,  that  age  of  suffering,  of  the  placing  of  the  bishop  in  \\iBthroiic?  Or  of  readers, 
"  singers,  and  porters,  in  the  church  ?" 

I  fear  the  collector  and  compiler  of  those  Constitutions,  under  the  name  of  Clement,  was  conscious  to 
himself  of  dishonesty  in  it,  in  that  he  would  not  have  them  published  before  all,  because  of  the  mysteries 
contained  in  them  ;  nor  were  they  known  or  published  till  the  middle  of  the  fourth  century,  wiien  the 
forgery  could  not  be  so  well  dispro\cd.  I  c:uuiot  sec  any  mysteries  in  them,  that  they  should  be  concealed, 
if  laev  had  been  genuine  ;  but  I  am  sure  that  Christ  bias  hfs  apostles  publish  the  mysteries  of  the  kingdom 
of  (Joel  uiwn  tlie  house-tops.  And  St.  Paul,  though  there  arc  mjsteries  in  his  Epistles,  much  more  sub- 
lime than  iuiy  of  these  Constitutions,  charges  that  they  should  be  read  to  all  the  holy  brethren.  Nay,  these 
Constitutions  are  so  wholly  in  a  manner  taken  uj),  either  with  moral  ]jrecc])ts,  or  i-ulcs  of  practi<'C  in  the 

"       pretend,  t" 


though  the  .'Ijioculy/tse  is  so  full  of  mysteries,  vet  a  blessing  is  pi-onounced  u])(in  the  readers  and  hearers 
of  that  prophecy.  We  must  therefore  conchulc  that,  whenever  they  were  written,  by  declining  the  light 
they  owned  themselves  to  be  apocryphal,  that  is,  hidden  or  concealed  ;  that  they  durst  not  mingle  '.hem- 


sehes  with  what  was  given  by  divine  insiiiration  ;  to  allude  to  what  is  said  of  the  ministei's,  (^^-Icts  5.  13.) 
Of  the  rest  durst  no  man  join  himself  to  the  apostles,  _/br  the  /ico/ile  ?nciq-nified  them. 

So  that  e\en  bv  their  own  confession  they  were  not  deli\ cred  to  the  churches  with  the  other  wintings, 
when  the  New-Testament  Canon  was  solemnly  sealed  up  with  that  dreadful  sentence  passed  on  those  that 
add  unto  these  things. 

And  as  we  have  thus  had  attempts  made  of  late  upon  the  purity  and  sufficiency  of  our  New  Testament, 
by  additions  to  it,  so  we  ha\e  likewise  had  from  another  quarter  a  great  contempt  put  u])on  it  by  thepap^ 
power.     The  occasion  was  this  : 

One  Father  Quesnel,  a  French  papist,  b\it  a  Jansenist,  near  thirty  years  ago,  published  the  Am'  Tes- 
tament in  Frenc^i,  in  several  small  volumes,  with  Moral  Ne/lections  on  c\'ery  \erse,  to  render  the  reading 
of  it  more  profitable,  and  meditation  upon  it  more  easy.  It  was  much  esteemed  in  France,  for  the  sake 
of  the  jiicty  and  devotion  which  ajipeared  in  it,  and  it  had  several  im])ressions.  The  Jesuits  were  much 
disgusted,  and  solicited  the  pope  for  the  condemnation  of  it,  though  the  author  of  it  was  a  papist,  and  many 
tilings  in  it  countenanced  popish  superstition. 

After  much  stniggling  about  it  in  the  court  of  Rome,  a  bull  was  at  length  obtained,  at  the  request  of  the 
French  king,  from  the  present  pope,  Clement  XI.,  bearing  date  September  8,  1713,  by  which  the  said 
book,  with  what  title  or  in  what  language  soever  it  is  printed,  is  prohibited  and  condemned ;  both  the 
New  Testament  itself,  because  in  manv  things  varying  from  the  vulgar  Latin,  ;md  the  Annotations,  as 
containing  divers  propositions,  (above  aliundredarc  enumerated,)  scandalous  and  pernicious,  injurious  to 
the  churcli  and  its  customs,  impious,  blasphemous,  savouring  of  heresy.  And  the  jiropositions  are  such 
as  these — "That  the  grace  of  our  I^ord  Jesus  Christ  is  the  effectual  princijjle  of  all  manner  of  good,  is 
"  necessary  for  every  good  action  ;  for  without  it  nothing  is  done,  nay,  nothing  can  be  done" — "  That  it 
"is  a  sovereign  gi-ace,  and  is  an  operation  of  the  Almighty  hand  of  Ood" — "That  when  God  accompa- 
"  nies  his  word  with  the  internal  power  of  his  gi-ace,  it  operates  in  the  soul  the  obedience  which  it  de- 
"mands" — "  Th^t  faith  is  the  first  grace,  and  the  fountain  of  all  others" — "That  it  is  in  vain  for  us  to 
"  call  God  our  Father,  if  we  do  not  cry  to  him  with  the  spirit  of  lo\-e" — "  That  there  is  no  God,  nor  re- 
"  ligion,  where  there  is  no  charity" — "That  the  catholic  church  comprehends  the  angels  and  all  the 
'  elect  and  just  men  of  the  earth,  of  all  ages" — "That  it  has  the  \\'ord  incarnate  for  its  Head,  and  all 
''  the  saints  for  its  members" — "  That  it  is  jjrofitable  and  necessan'  at  all  times,  in  all  places,  and  for  all 
"sorts  of  persons,  to  know  the  holv  Scrmtures" — "That  the  holy  obscurity  of  the  word  of  God  is  no 
"  re:ison  for  the  lait>-  not  reading  it" — "  That  the  Lonl's  day  ought  to  be  sanctified  by  reading  books  of 
"  piety,  especially  the  holv  Scriptures" — And  "  that  to  forbid  christians  from  reading  the  Scriptures,  is 
"  to  prohiliit  the  use  of  lig-lit  to  the  children  of  light."  IMany  such  positions  as  these,  which  the  spirit  of 
every  good  christian  cannot  but  i-elish  as  tnie  and  good,  are  condemned  by  the  pope's  bull  as  impious 
and  blasphemous.  And  this  bull,  though  strenuously  opposed  by  a  gi-eat  number  of  the  Bishops  in  France, 
who  were  well  affected  to  the  notions  of  Father  Quesnel,  was  yet  recei^•cd  and  confirmed  by  the  French 
king's  letters  patent,  bearing  date  at  Versailles,  Febi-uan-  14,  1714,  which  forbid  all  manner  of  persons, 
uijon  pain  of  cxemjjlarv  punishment,  so  much  as  to  keep  any  of  those  books  in  their  houses  ;  and  adjudge 
any  that  should  hereafter  write  in  defence  of  the  Propositions  condemned  by  the  pope,  as  disturbere  ot 
the  peace. 

It  was  registered  the  day  following,  Februaiy  15,  by  the  Parliament  of  Paris,  but  with  divers  provisos 
and  limitations. 

By  this  it  a])pears  that  popeiy  is  still  the  same  thing  that  ever  it  was,  an  enemy  to  the  knowledge  of  the 
Scriptures,  and  to  the  honour  of  divine  grace.  \Miat  reason  have  we  to  bless  God,  that  we  have  liberty  to 
read  the  Scriptures,  and  ha\e  he\y>s  to  understand  and  improve  them  ;  which  we  are  concerned  diligently 
to  make  a  good  use  of,  that  we  may  not  provoke  God  to  give  us  up  into  the  liands  of  those  powers  that 
would  use  us  in  like  manner. 

I  am  willing  to  hope  that  those  to  whom  the  reading  of  the  Exposition  of  the  Old  Testament  ■was 
pleasant,  will  find  this  yet  more  pleasant ;  for  this  is  that  part  of  pcripture,  which  does  most  plainly  tes- 
tify of  Christ,  and  in  which  that  gosjiel-graee  v-'hich  afifiears  unto  all  tncn,  bringing  salvation,  shines  most 
clear.  This  is  the  New-Testament  milk  for  babes,  the  rest  is  strong  meat  for  strong  men.  By  these, 
therefore,  let  us  be  nourished  and  strengthened,  that  we  may  be  pressing  on  toward  perfection  ;  and  that, 
ha\ing  laid  the  foundation  in  the  histoiy  of  our  blessed  Saviour's  Life,  Death,  and  Resun-ectinn,  and  the 
first  preaching  of  his  gospel,  we  may  Iniild  upon  it  by  an  acquaintance  with  the  mysteries  of  godliness, 
III  which  we  shall  be  further  introduced  in  the  Kpistles. 

I  desire  I  may  be  read  with  a  candid,  and  not  a  critical,  eye.  I  pretend  not  to  gratify  the  curious  ;  the 
lop  of  my  ambition  is,  to  assist  thos?  who  are  truly  serious,  in  searching  the  Scriptures  daily.     I  am  sure- 

'  •Edit.  Joan.  Clericl.p.  245, 

Vol.  v.— B 


PREFACE. 


it  is  designed,  and  hope  it  is  calculated,  to  promote  piety  toward  God,  and  charity  towards  our  brethren ; 
and  tnat  there  is  not  only  something  in  it  which  may  edify,  but  nothing  which  may  justly  offend,  any 
good  christian. 

If  any  receive  spiritual  benefit  by  my  poor  endeavours,  it  will  be  a  comfort  to  me  ;  but  let  God  have  all 
the  glory,  and  that  free  grace  of  his  which  has  employed  one  that  is  utterly  unworthy  of  such  an  honour, 
and  enabled  one  thus  far  to  go  on  in  it,  who  is  utterly  msufficient  for  such  a  service. 

Having  obtained  help  of  God,  I  continue  hitherto  in  it,  and  humbly  depend  upon  the  same  good  hand 
of  my  God  to  carry  me  on  in  that  which  remains,  to  gird  my  loins  with  needful  strength,  and  to  make  niy 
way  perfect ;  and  for  this  I  humbly  desire  the  prayers  of  my  friends.  One  volume  more,  I  hope,  will 
include  what  is  yet  to  be  done ;  and  I  will  both  go  about  it,  and  go  on  wth  it,  as  God  shall  enable  me; 
with  all  convenient  speed ;  but  it  is  that  part  of  the  Scripture,  which,  of  all  others,  requires  the  most  care 
and  pains  in  expounding  it.    But  I  trust,  that  as  the  day,  so  shall  the  strength  be. 

M.  H 


ADVERTISEMENT. 


THAT  which  has  been  just  offered  to  the  reader,  was  the  reverend  author's  Jirst  draught  of  a  Preface 
to  this  volume.  He  intended  to  revise  it,  if  God  had  allowed  him  a  return  home  from  his  late  jour- 
ney. But  though,  by  the  afflicting  stroke  of  his  sudden  death,  it  wants  the  advantage  of  his  last  hand, 
yet  serious  readers  will  be  well  pleased  to  have  his  first  sentiments  on  those  important  heads  which  there 
come  under  his  consideration  ;  especially  since  it  contains  his  dying  testimony  to  the  Christian  Religion 
the  Canon  of  the  New  Testament,  and  the  general  usefiilness  of  the  sacred  scriptures,  on  occasion  of 
those  debates  which  have  been  lately  started,  and  made  the  most  considerable  noise  in  the  world. 

The  Exfiosition  itself,  as  far  as  the  Acts  of  the  Afiostles  goes,  was  entirely  committed  to  the  press 
before  he  left  the  City.  The  reader  will  perceive  his  intentions  for  the  rest  of  the  Holy  Bible.  But  the 
sovereign  providence  of  God,  in  whose  hands  our  times  are,  has  called  this  faithful  and  diligent  serv'ant 
to  rest  from  his  labours,  and  finish  weU  himself,  before  he  could  finish  this,  and  several  other  great  and 
pious  designs  he  had  for  the  service  of  God  and  his  church. 

However,  it  may  be  acceptable  to  such  as  have  often  entertained  themselves  and  their  families  with 
what  is  already  extant,  to  let  them  know  that  we  are  not  without  hopes  yet  of  seeing  Mr.  Henry's  Expo- 
sition of  the  remainder  ;  though  it  cannot  be  expected  to  be  altogether  so  copious  and  complete  as  that 
which  he  himself  prepared  for  the  public.  He  drew  up,  several  years  ago,  an  Exfiosition  of  the  E.fiis- 
tle  to  the  Romans,  which  he  had  designed  to  transcribe  with  little  alteration,  for  the  beginning  of  his 
next  volume,  and  was  earnestly  solicited  to  print  it  by  itself,  before  he  had  thoughts  of  writing  upon  thr 
whole  Bible.  For  the  rest,  there  are  copies  of  his  Expositions,  both  in  public  and  private,  taken  from 
him  by  judicious  writers  ;  wherein,  though  they  may  not  be  of  equal  length,  yet  Mr.  Henry  was  used  to 
express  himself  with  like  propriety,  the  same  pious  spirit,  and  uncommon  skill  in  the  Scriptures.  There 
is  encouragement  to  hope  that  the  revising  and  preparing  of  these  for  the  press  will  be  undertaken  (if 
God  give  life  and  health)  by  an  intimate  friend  of^  the  excellent  Author,  whose  long  acquaintance  with  his 
spirit  and  manner  renders  him  the  most  proper  person  for  that  service  ;  and  liis  endeared  affection  will 
incline  him  to  take  the  pains  necessary  for  ushering  them  into  the  world.  This  course  is  apprehended  to 
be  much  better  than  either  to  leave  such  a  work  unfinished,  when  it  is  already  advanced  so  far,  or  to 
attempt  the  continuation  of  the  design  with  a  quite  different  set  of  thoughts,  and  another  sort  of  style  and 
method,  that  it  may  be  as  much  Mr.  Henry's  as  possible.  But  a  reasonable  time  must  be  allowed  before 
this  can  be  expected.  I  pray  God  long  to  spare  the  valuable  life  of  that  dear  friend  of  the  Author,  and 
every  way  furnish  him  for  this  good  work,  and  all  others  he  may  undertake  for  the  good  of  God's  church. 

John  Evans. 


AN 


EXPOSITION, 

WITH 

PRACTICAL  OBSERVATIONS, 

OF   THE 

GOSPEL  ACCORDING  TO 

ST.    MATTHEW. 


Wc  have  now  before  us, 
I.  The  X&w  Testament  of  our  Lord  and  Saviour  Jesus  Christ ;  so  this  second  part  of  tlie  holy  Bible  is 
entitled:  The  nfro  Covenant;  so  it  might  as  well  be  rendered  ;  the  word  signifies  both.  But  when  it 
is  (as  here)  spoken  of  as  Christ's  act  and  deed,  it  is  most  properly  rendered  a  Testament,  for  he  is  the 
Testator,  iuid  it  becomes  of  force  by  his  death  ;  (Heb.  6.  16,  \7.)  nor  is  there,  as  in  covenants,  a  previous 
treaty  between  the  parties,  but  what  is  granted,  though  an  estate  upon  condition,  is  owing  to  the  will, 
the  free-will,  the  good- will,  of  the  Testator.  Tliusall  the  grace  contained  in  this  book  is  owing  to  Jesus 
Christ  as  our  Lord  and  Saviour ;  and  unless  we  consent  to  him  as  our  Lord,  we  cannot  expect  any 
benefit  by  him  as  our  Saviour.  This  is  called  a  JVHu  Testament,  to  distinguish  it  from  that  which  was 
given  by  Moses,  and  was  now  imtiquated  ;  and  to  signify  that  it  should  be  always  new,  and  should  never 
wax  old,  iuid  grow  out  of  date.  These  books  contain,  not  only  a  full  discovery  of  that  grace  which  has 
a/i/ieared  to  alt  men,  hrinffinir  sah'ation,  hut  aXegal  instrument  by  which  it  is  conveyed  to,  and  settled 
upon,  all  believers.  How  carefully  do  we  preserve,  and  with  what  attention  and  pleasure  do  we  read, 
the  last  will  and  testament  of  a  friend,  who  has  therein  left  us  a  fair  estate,  and,  with  it,  high  expres- 
sions of  his  love  to  us  !  How  precious  then  should  this  Testament  of  our  blessed  Saviour  be  to  us,  which 
secures  to  us  all  his  unsearchal)le  riches  ?  It  is  his  Testament ;  for  though,  as  is  usual,  it  was  written  by 
others,  (we  have  nothing  upon  record  that  was  of  Christ's  own  writing,)  yet  he  dictated  it ;  and  the 
night  Ijefore  he  died,  in  th?  institution  of  his  supper,  he  signed,  sealed,  and  published  it,  in  the  presence 
of  twelve  witnesses.     For,  though  these  books  were  not  written  for  some  years  after,  for  the  benefit  of 

Jiosterity,  in  /icrfietuam  rei  memoriam,  as  a  Jxerfietual  memorial,  yet  the  New  Testament  of  our  Lord 
csus  was  settled,  confirmed,  and  declared,  from  the  time  of  his  death,  as  a  nuncupative  will,  with 
which  these  records  exactly  agree.  The  things  which  St.  Luke  wrote,  were  things  which  were  most 
surely  beliex'ed,  and  therefore  well  known,  before  he  wixjte  them  ;  but  when  they  were  written,  the  oral 
tradition  was  superseded  and  set  aside,  and  these  writings  were  the  repository  of  that  New  Testament. 
This  is  intimated  by  the  title  which  is  prefixed  to  many  Greek  Copies,  Tiic  xaijiic  Ai«S-ii»»c  " hirnirn — 
The  whole  of  the  A'em  Testament,  or  All  the  things  of  it.  In  it  is  declared  the  whole  counsel  of  God 
concerning  our  salvation.  Acts  20.  27.  As  the  law  of  the  Lord  is  perfect,  so  is  the  gospel  of  Christ,  and 
nothing  is  to  be  added  to  it.  We  have  it  all,  and  are  to  look  for  no  more. 
n.  We  have  before  us  The  Four  Gosfiels.  Gos/iel  &\^\fies  good  ?iews,  ov  glad  tidings ;  and  this  history 
of  Christ's  coming  into  the  world  to  save  sinners,  is,  without  doubt,  the  best  news  that  ever  came  from 
heaven  to  earth;  the  angel  gave  it  this  title,  (Luke  2.  10.)  Euifyyi\i^t,fixi  Cfx'iv — /  bring  you  good 
tidings  ;  I  bring  the  gos/iel  to  you.  And  the  prophet  foretold  it,  Isa.  52.  7. — 61.  1.  It  is  there  foretold, 
that  m  the  days  of  the  Messiah  good  tidings  should  be  preached.  Gos/iel  is  an  old  Saxon  word  ;  it  is 
God's  s/iell  or  word  ;  and  God  is  so  called  because  he  is  good,  Deus  optimus — God  most  excellent,  and 
therefore  it  may  be  a  good  spell,  or  word.  If  we  take  spell  in  its  more  proper  signification  for  a  charm 
(carmen, )  and  take  that  in  a  good  sense,  for  what  is  moving  and  affectmg,  which  is  apt  lenire  dolorem 
— to  calm  the  spirits,  or  to  raise  them  in  admiration  or  love,  as  that  which  is  \ei-y  amiable  we  call  char- 
ming, it  is  applicable  to  the  gospel  ;  for  in  it  the  charmer  charmeth  wisely,  though  to  deaf  adders,  Ps. 
58.  4,  5.  Nor  (one  would  think)  can  any  charms  be  so  powerful  as  those  of  the  beauty  and  love  of  our 
Redeemer.  The  whole  New  Testament  is  the  gospel.  St.  Paul  calls  it  his  gospel,  because  he  was  one 
of  the  preachers  of  it.  Oh  that  we  may  each  of  us  make  it  ours  by  our  cordial  acceptance  of  it,  and 
subjection  to  it  !  But  the  four  books  which  contain  the  history  of  the  Redeemer,  we  commonly  call 
The  Four  Gospels,  and  the  inspired  penmen  of  them  F.z'angelists,  or  Gospel-writers  ;  not,  however, 
veiy  properly,  because  that  title  belongs  to  a  particular  orcJer  of  ministers,  that  were  assistants  to 
the  apostles;  (Eph.  4.  11.)  He  gave  some  apostles  and  some  e^myigelists.  It  was  recjuisite  that  the 
doctrine  of  Christ  should  be  interwoven  with,  and  founded  upon,  the  narrative  of  his  birth,  life,  mii-a- 
cles,  death,  and  resuiTection  ;  for  then  it  appears  in  its  clearest  and  strongest  light.  As  in  nature,  so 
in  grace,  the  most  happv  discovc,ries  are  those  which  take  rise  from  the  certain  representations  of  mat- 
ters of  fact  Natural  nistory  is  the  best  philosophv  ;  and  so  is  the  sacred  histon',  both  of  the  Old  and 
New  Testament,  the  most  proper  and  grateful  vehicle  of  sacred  truth.  These  four  gospels  were  early 
and  constantly  received  by  the  primitive  church,  and  read  in  christian  assemblies,  as  appears  by  the 
writings  of  Justin  Martyr  and  Irenxus,  who  lived  little  more  than  a  hundred  vears  after  the  ascension 
''f  Christ ;  they  declared  that  neither  more  nor  fewer  than  four  were  received  by  the  church.    A  Har- 


n 


ST.  MATTHEW. 


mom-  of  these  four  evangelists  was  compiled  by  Tatian  about  that  time,  which  he  called,  To  iia  a  urrafut 

The  Gosfiel  out  of  the  four.     In  the  third  and  fourth  centuries  there  were  gospels  forged  by  divers 

sects,  and  published,  one  under  the  name  of  St.  Peter,  another  of  St.  Thomas,  another  of  St.  Philip,  8cc. 
But  they  were  never  owned  by  the  church,  nor  was  any  credit  given  to  them  ;  as  the  learned  Dr. 
Whitby  shews.  And  he  gives  this  good  reason  why  he  should  adhere  to  these  written  records,  because, 
whatever  the  pretences  of  tradition  may  be,  it  is  not  sufficient  to  preserve  things  with  any  certainty,  as 
appears  by  experience.  For,  whereas  Christ  said  and  did  many  memorable  things,  which  rjere  7101 
•written,  (John  20.  30. — 21.  25.)  tradition  has  not  preserved  any  one  of  them  to  us,  but  all  is  lost  except 
what  was  written  ;  that  therefore  is  what  we  must  abide  by  ;  and  blessed  be  God  that  we  have  it  to 
abide  by  ;  it  is  the  sure  word  of  history-. 
fll.  We  have  before  us  the  Gospel  according  to  St.  Mattheiv.  The  penman  was,  by  birth,  a  Jew,  by 
railing  a  publican,  till  Christ  commanded  his  attendance,  and  then  he  left  the  receifit  of  cuntom,  to  fol- 
low him,  and  was  one  of  those  that  accompanied  him  all  the  time  that  the  Lord  Jesus  went  in  and  out, 
beginning  from  the  baptism  of  John  unto  the  day  that  he  nvas  taken  up.  Acts  1.  21,  22.  He  was  there- 
fore a  competent  witness  of  what  he  has  here  recorded.  He  is  said  to  have  written  this  history  about 
eight  years  after  Christ's  ascension.  Many  of  the  ancients  say  that  he  wrote  it  in  the  Hebrew,  or 
Syriac,  language  ;  but  the  tradition  is  sufficiently  disproved  by  lir.  Whitby.  Doubtless,  it  was  written 
in  Greek,*  as  the  other  parts  of  the  New  Testament  were  ;  not  in  that  language  which  was  peculiar  to 
tlie  Jews,  whose  church  and  state  were  near  a  period,  but  in  tliat  which  was  common  to  the  world,  and 
in  which  the  knowledge  of  Christ  would  be  most  effectually  transmitted  to  the  nations  of  the  earth  ; 
yet  it  is  probable  that  there  might  be  an  edition  of  it  in  Hebrew,  published  by  St.  Matthew  himself,  at 
the  same  time  that  he  wrote  it  in  Greek  ;  the  former  for  the  Jews,  the  latter  for  the  Gentiles,  when  he 
left  Judea,  to  preach  among  the  Gentiles.  Let  us  bless  God  that  we  have  it,  and  have  it  in  a  language 
which  we  understand. 


ST.  MATTHEW,  I. 


CHAP.  I. 

This  evangelist  begins  with  the  account  of  Christ's  parentage 
and  birth,  the  anoestors  from  whom  he  descended,  and  tlie 
manner  of  his  entry  into  the  world,  to  make  it  appear  tliat 
he  was  indeed  the  Messiah  promised ;  for  it  was  foretold 
that  he  should  be  the  son  of  David,  and  should  be  born  of 
a  virgin  ;  and  that  he  was  so,  is  here  plainly  shewn  ;  for 
here  is,  I.  His  pedio^ree  from  Abraham  in  fortj'-two  f^ene- 
rations,  three  fourteens,  v.  I.  .17.  II.  An  account  of  the 
circumstances  of  bis  birth,  so  far  as  was  requisite  to  shew 
that  he  was  born  of  a  virgin,  v.  18.  .  25.  Thus  inetiiodi- 
cally  is  the  life  of  our  blessed  Saviour  written,  as  lives 
should  be  written,  for  the  clearer  proposing  of  the  example 
of  tliem. 

1 .  f  I  '^HE  book  of  the  generation  of  Jesus 
JL  Christ,  the  son  of  David,  the  son  of 
Abraham.  2.  Abraham  begat  Isaac ;  and 
Isaac  begat  Jacob ;  and  Jacob  begat  Judas 
and  his  brethren ;  3.  And  Judas  begat 
Phares  and  Zara  of  Thamar;  and  Phares 
begat  Esrom ;  and  Esrom  begat  Aram ;  4. 
And  Aram  begat  Aminadab ;  and  Amina- 
dab  begat  Naasson ;  and  Naasson  begat 
Salmon ;  5.  And  Sahnon  begat  Booz  of 
Rachab  ;  and  Booz  begat  Obed  of  Ruth ; 
and  Obed  begat  Jesse;  6.  And  Jesse 
begat  David  the  king;  and  Da\id  the  king 
begat  Solomon  of  her  that  had  been  the 
wife  of  Urias;  7.  And  Solomon  begat 
Roboam;  and  Roboam  begat  Abia;  and 
Abia  begat  Asa ;  8.  And  Asa  begat  Josa- 
phat;  and  Josaphat  begat  Joram;  and 
Joram  begat  Ozias;  9.  And  Ozias  begat 
Joatham ;  and  Joatham  begat  Achaz ;  and 
Achaz  begat  Ezekias ;  10.  And  Ezekias 
begat  Manasses;  and  Manasses  begat 
Amon ;  and  Anion  begat  Josias ;    11.  And 


Josias  begat  Jechonias  and  his  brethren, 
about  the  time  they  were  carried  away  to 
Babylon :  1 2.  And  after  they  were  brought 
to  Babylon ;  Jechonias  begat  Salathiel ; 
and  Salathiel  begat  Zorobabel;  1.3.  And 
Zorobabel  begat  Abiud;  and  Abiud  be- 
gat Eliakim;  and    Eliakim  begat  Azor; 

14.  And  Azor  begat  Sadoc;  and  Sadoc 
begat  Achim ;    and    Achim  begat  Eliud ; 

15.  And  Eliud  begat  Eleazar;  and  Eleazar 
begat  Matthan ;  and  INIatthan  begat  Jacob : 

16.  And  Jacob  begat  Joseph  the  husband 
of  Marj'  of  whom  was  born  Jesus,  who 
is  called  Christ.  17.  So  all  the  genera- 
tions from  Abraham  to  David  are  fourteet! 
generations ;  and  from  David  until  tiin 
carrying  away  into  Babylon  are  fourteen 
generations  ;  and  from  the  carrying  away 
into  Babylon  unto  Christ  are  fourteen 
generations. 

Concerning  this  genealogj'  of  our  Saviour,  obsen'e. 

I.  The  title  of  it.  It  is  the  book  (or  tlie  account, 
as  the  Hebrew  word  se/ihcr — a  book,  sometimes  sig- 
nifies,) of  the  generatio?!  of  Jesus  Christ,  of  his  an- 
cestors, according  to  tlic  flesh  ;  or.  It  is  the  narra- 
tive of  his  birth.  It  is  B/fxic  rsvsVtai; — a  book  of 
Genesis.  The  Old  Testament  begins  with  tlie  book 
of  tlie  generation  of  the  world,  and  it  is  its  glory 
that  it  does  so ;  but  the  glory  of  the  New  Testa- 
ment herein  excels,  that  it  begins  with  the  book  of 
the  generation  of  him  that  made  the  world.  As  God, 
his  outgoings  nvere  of  old,  from  everlasting,  (Mic. 
5.  2. )  and  none  can  declare  that  generation ;  but, 
as  Man,  he  was  sent  forth  in  the  fulness  of  time,  of 
a  woman,  and  it  is  that  generation  which  is  licre 
declared. 

II.  The  principal  intention  of  it     It  is  not  as 


*  See  a  \ii:d:cat:it!i  of  '.he  opnosilc  opinion  in  Dr.  CampbeU*3  Preface  to  his  Translation  of  this  Gospel.— Ed. 


ST.  MATTHEW,  1. 


13 


endless  or  needless  genealogy  ;  it  is  not  a  vain-glori- 
ous one,  as  those  of  gi-cat  men  commonly  are. 
Ulemmala,  quia  fac'unt — Of  u'/iat  avail  are  ancient 
/ledigrees?  It  is  like  a  ncuigrec  riven  in  evidence, 
to  prove  a  title,  and  make  out  a  claim  ;  the  design 
is  to  prove  that  our  Loixl  Jesus  is  t/ie  Son  of  David, 
and  the  Son  of  .ibraham,  and  therefore  of  that  na- 
tion and  family  out  of  which  the  Messiah  was  to 
arise.  Abi-.iham  and  Diivid  were,  in  their  day,  the 
great  tnistces  of  tlic  pi-omise  relating  to  the  Mes- 
siah. The  liTomise  of  the  blessing-  nvas  made  to 
.Abraham  and  his  seed,  of  tlie  dominion,  to  Dax'id 
and  his  seed  ;  and  they  who  would  have  an  interest 
in  Christ,  as  the  Son  of  .Ibraham,  in  '^hom  all  the 
families  of  the  earth  are  to  be  blessed,  must  be  faith- 
fiil,  loyal  subjects  to  him  as  the  Son  of  David,  bv 
whom  all  the  families  of  the  earth  are  to  be  ruled. 
It  was  promised  to  Abraham  that  Christ  should  de- 
scend from  him,  (Gen.  12.  3. — 22.  18.)  and  to  Da- 
vid that  lie  should  descend  from  him  ;  (2  Sam.  7.  12. 
Ps.  89.  3,  &c. — 132.  11.)  and  therefore,  unless  it 
can  be  proved  that  Jesus  is  a  Son  of  David  and  a 
•Son  of  ^ibraham,  we  cannot  admit  him  to  be  the 
Messiah.  Now  this  is  here  proved  from  the  authen- 
tic records  of  the  hci-alds'  offices.  The  Jews  were 
very  exact  in  presening  their  pedigrees,  and  thci'e 
was  a  providence  in  it,  for  the  clearing  up  of  the 
descent  of  the  Messiah  from  the  fathers  ;  and  since 
his  coming,  that  nation  is  so  dispersed  and  confound- 
ed, that  it  is  a  question  whether  any  person  in  the 
■world  can  legally  prove  himself  to  be  a  son  of 
Abraham  ;  however,  it  is  certain  that  none  can 
prove  himself  to  be  either  a  son  of  Aai'on,  or  a  S07i 
of  David,  so  that  the  priestly  and  kingly  office  must 
either  be  given  up,  as  lost  forever,  or  be  lodged  in 
the  hands  of  our  Lord  Jesus.  Christ  is  here  first 
called  the  Son  of  Dax'id,  because  under  that  title 
he  was  commonly  spoken  of,  and  expected,  among 
the  Jews.  Thev  who  o\vned  him  to  be  the  Christ, 
called  him  the  Son  of  David,  ch.  15.  22.>— 20.  31.— 
21.  15.  This,  therefore,  the  Evangelist  undertakes 
to  make  out,  that  he  is  not  only  a  Son  of  David,  but 
that  Son  of  David  on  whose  shoulders  the  govern- 
ment nvas  to  be  ;  not  only  a  Son  of  Abraham,  but 
that  Son  of  Abraham,  who  was  to  be  the  Father  of 
many  nations. 

In  calling  Christ  the  Son  of  David,  and  the  Son  of 
Abraham,  he  shews  th.it  God  is  faithful  to  his  pro- 
mise, and  will  make  good  every  word  that  he  has 
spoken ;  and  this,  1.  Tliough  the  performance  be 
long  deferred,  ^^'hen  God  proiiiised  Aljraham  a 
Son,  who  should  be  the  great  Blessing  of  the  world, 
perhaps  he  expected  it  should  be  his  immediate  son  ; 
out  it  proved  to  be  one  at  the  distance  of  forty-two 
generations,  and  about  2000  years.  So  long  tiefore 
can  God  foretel  what  shall  be  done,  and  so  long  after, 
sometimes,  does  God  fulfil  what  has  been  promised. 
Note,  Delays  of  promised  mercies,  though  they  ex- 
ercise our  patience,  do  not  weaken  God's  promise. 
2.  Though  it  begin  to  be  despaired  of.  This  Son 
of  David,  and  Son  of  Abraham,  who  was  to  be  the 
Glory  of  his  Father's  house,  was  bom  then  when 
the  seed  of  Abraham  was  a  despised  people  recently 
become  tributary'  to  the  Roman  yoke,  and  when  the 
house  of  David  was  buried  in  obscurit)' ;  for  Christ 
was  to  be  a  Root  out  of  a  dry  ground.  Note,  God's 
time  for  the  performance  of  Tiis  promise,  is,  when 
it  labours  under  the  greatest  improbabilities. 

III.  The  particular  series  of  it,  drawn  in  a  direct 
line  from  Abraham  downward,  according  to  the  ge- 
nealogies recorded  in  the  beginning  of  the  books  of 
Chronicles,  (as  far  as  those  go,)  and  which  here  we 
see  the  use  of. 

Some  particulars  we  may  obsen'e  in  this  gene- 
alog)-. 

1.  Among  the  ancestors  of  Christ,  who  had  bre- 
thren, generally,  he  descended  from  a  younger 


brother ;  such  Abraliam  nimself  was,  and  Jacob, 
and  Judali,  and  David,  and  Nathan,  and  Uhesa  ;  to 
shew  that  the  pre-eminence  of  C'hrist  came  not,  as 
that  of  earthly  princes,  from  the  primogeniture  of 
his  ancestors,  but  from  the  will  of  (iod,  who,  ac- 
cording to  the  method  of  his  providence,  exalts  them, 
of  torn  degree,  and  puts  more  abundant  honour  ufion 
that  jtart  T^'hich  lacked. 

2.  Among  the  sons  of  Jacob,  beside  Judah,  from 
whom  Shiloli  came,  notice  is  here  taken  of  his  bre- 
thren ;  Judas  and  his  brethren.  No  mention  is  made 
of  Ishmael,  the  son  of  .\l)raham,  or  of  Rsau,  the  son 
of  Isaac,  because  they  were  shut  out  of  tlie  church  ; 
whereas  all  the  children  of  Jacob  were  taken  in,  and 
though  not  fathers  of  Christ,  were  yet  patriarchs  of 
the  church,  (Acts  7.  8.)  ancl  therefore  aro  mention- 
ed in  this  genealog)-,  for  the  cncoui-agement  of  the 
tvjelve  tribes  that  ivere  scattered  abroad,  intimating 
to  them  tliat  they  have  an  interest  in  Christ,  and 
stand  in  relation  to  him  as  well  as  Judali. 

3.  Pharcs  and  Zara,  the  twin-sons  of  Judah,  are 
likewise  both  named,  though  Pharcs  only  was 
Christ's  ancestor,  for  the  same  reason  that  the 
brethren  of  Judah  are  taken  notice  of :  some  think 
because  the  birth  of  Phares  and  Zara  had  something 
of  allegoiT  in  it.  Zara  put  out  his  hand  first,  as  the 
fii-st-bonii  but  drawing  it  in,  Pliaros  got  the  birth- 
right. The  Jewish  church,  like  Zara,  reached  first 
at  the  birthright,  but,  through  unbelief,  withdraw- 
ing the  hand,  the  Gentile  church,  like  Phares,  broke 
forth,  and  went  away  with  the  birthright  ;  and  thus 
blindness  is  in  fjart  hafifiened  unto  Israel,  till  the  ful- 
ness of  the  Gentiles  be  come  in,  and  'then  Zara  s"hall 
be  bom — all  Israel  shall  be  saved,  Rom.  11.  25,  26. 

4.  There  are  four  women,  and  but  four,  named  in 
this  genealog)- ;  two  of  them  were  originally  stran 
gers  to  the  'common':vea!th  of  Israel,  Rahab  a  Ca- 
naanitess,  and  a  harlot  besides,  and  Ruth  the  Moab- 
itess  ;  for  in  Jesus  Christ  there  is  neither  Greek  nor 
Jew ;  those  that  are  strangers  and  foreigners  arc 
welcome,  in  Christ,  to  the  citizenshi/i  of  the  saints. 
The  other  two  were  adultresses,  Tamar  and  Bath- 
sheba ;  which  was  a  further  mark  of  humiliation 
put  upon  our  Lord  Jesus,  that  not  only  he  descended 
from  such,  but  that  his  descent  from  them  is  parti- 
cularly remarked  in  his  genealog)-,  and  no  veil  drawn 
over  it.  He  took  upon  him  the  likeness  of  sinful 
flesh,  (Rom.  8.  3.)  and  takes  e\en  great  sinners, 
upon  their  repentance,  into  the  nearest  relations  to 
himself.  Note,  we  ought  not  to  upbraid  people  with 
the  scandals  of  their  ancestors  ;  it  is  what  they  can- 
not help,  and  has  been  the  lot  of  the  best,  even  of 
our  Master  himself.  David's  begetting  Solomon  of 
her  that  had  been  the  ivife  of  Urias,  is  taken  notice 
of,  (sa>'S  Dr.  WTiitby,)  to  shew  that  that  crime  of 
David,  being  repented  of,  was  so  far  from  hindering 
the  promise  made  to  him,  that  it  pleased  God  by 
this  very  woman  to  fulfil  it. 

5.  Though  divers  kings  are  here  named,  yet  none 
is  expressly  called  a  king,  but  David,  (t.  6.)  David 
the  king  ;  because  with  him  the  covenant  of  royalty 
was  made,  and  to  him  the  promise  of  the  kingdom 
of  the  Messiah  was  gi^"?"!  ^^l^o  's  therefore  said  to 
inherit  the  throne  of  his  father  David,  Luke  1.  32. 

6.  In  the  pedigree  of  the  kings  of  Judah,  between 
Joi-am  and  Ozias,  (f.  8.)  there  are  three  left  out, 
Ahaziah,  Joash,  and  Amaziah  ;  and  therefore  when 
it  is  said,  Joram  begat  Ozias,  it  is  meant,  according 
to  the  usage  of  the  Hebrew  tongue,  that  Ozias  was 
lineally  descended  from  him,  as  it  is  said  to  Heze- 
kiah,  that  the  sons  which  he  should  beget  should  be 
carried  to  Babylon,  whereas  they  were  removed 
several  generations  from  him.  It  was  not  through 
mistake  or  forgetfulness  that  these  three  were  omit- 
ted, but,  pixibably,  they  were  omitted  in  the  gene- 
alogical tables  that  the  Evangelist  consulted,  which 
yet  were  admitted  as  authentic    Some  give  this 


14 


ST.  MATTHEW,  I. 


reason  for  it. — It  being  Matthew's  design,  for  the 
sake  of  memory,  to  reduce  the  number  of  Christ's 
ancestors  to  three  fourteens,  it  was  requisite  that  m 
this  period  three  should  be  left  out,  and  none  more 
fit  than  they  who  were  the  immediate  progeny  of 
cursed  Athaliah,  who  introduced  the  idolatry  of 
Ahab  into  the  house  of  David ;  for  which  this  brand 
is  set  upon  the  family,  and  the  iniquity  thus  visited 
to  the  third  and  fourth  generation.  Two  of  these 
three  were  apostates  ;  and  such  God  commonly  sets 
a  mark  of  his  displeasure  upon  in  this  world  ;  they 
all  three  had  their  heads  brought  to  the  gi-ave  with 
blood. 

7.  Some  observe  what  a  mixture  there  was  of 
good  and  bad,  in  the  succession  of  these  kings ;  as 
for  instance,  (v.  7,  8.)  wicked  Roboam  begat  wick- 
ed .^bia  ;  wicked  jlbia  begat  good  jlsa  ;  good  ^sa 
begat  good  Josafihat ;  good  Josafihat  begat  wicked 
Joram.  Grace  does  not  nin  in  the  blood,  nor  does 
reigning  sin.  God's  grace  is  his  own,  and  he  gives 
or  withholds  it  as  he  pleases. 

8.  The  captivity  in  Babylon  is  mentioned  as  a  re- 
markable period  m  this  line,  -v.  11,  12.  AU  things 
considered,  it  was  a  wonder  that  the  Jews  were  not 
lost  in  that  captivity,  as  other  nations  have  been  ; 
but  this  intimates  the  reason  why  the  streams  of 
that  people  were  kept  to  run  pure  through  that  dead 
sea,  because  from  them,  as  concerning  the  flesh, 
Christ  was  to  come.  Destroy  it  not,  for  a  blessing 
is  in  it,  even  that  Blessing  of  blessings,  Christ  him- 
self, Isa.  65.  8,  9.  It  was  with  an  eye  to  him  that 
they  were  restored,  and  the  desolations  of  the  sanc- 
tuary were  looked  upon  with  favour  for  the  Lord's 
take,  Dan.  9.  17. 

9.  Josias  is  here  said  to  beget  Jechonias  and  his 
brethren;  {v.  11.)  by  Jechonias  is  meant  Jehoiakim, 
who  was  the  first-bom  of  Josias ;  but  when  it  is  said, 
{v.  12.)  tti'iX  Jechonias  begat  Salathiel,  that  Jecho- 
nias was  the  son  of  that  Jehoiakim  who  was  carried 
into  _  Babylon,  and  there  begat  Salathiel,  (as  Dr. 
Whitby  shews,)  and  when  Jechonias  is  said  to  have 
been  written  f/«/rf/fss,  (Jer.  22.  30.)  it  is  explained 
thus ;  A'b  man  of  his  seed  shall  firosper.  Salathiel 
is  here  said  to  beget  Zorobabel,  whereas  Salathiel 
begat  Pedaiah,  and  he  begat  Zorobabel  (1  Chron. 
3.  19. )  but,  as  before,  the  grandson  is  often  called 
the  son ;  Pedaiah,  it  is  likely,  died  in  his  father's 
life-time,  and  so  his  son  Zorobabel  was  called  the 
son  of  Salathiel. 

10.  The  line  is  brought  do^vn  not  to  Mary,  the 
mother  of  our  Lord,  but  to  Josefih,  the  husband  of 
Mary  ;  {v.  16.)  for  the  Jews  always  reckoned  their 
genealogies  by  the  males :  yet  Mary  was  of  the  same 
tribe  and  family  with  Joseph,  so  that,  both  by  the 
mother  and  by  this  supposed  father,  he  was  of  the 
house  of  David  ;  yet  his  interest  in  that  dignity  is 
derived  by  Joseph,  to  whom  really,  according  to  the 
flesh,  he  had  no  relation,  to  shew  that  the  kingdom 
of  the  Messiah  is  not  founded  in  a  natui-al  descent 
from  David. 

11.  The  centre  in  whom  all  these  lines  meet,  is 
Jesus,  luho  13  called  Christ,  v.  16.  This  is  he  that 
was  so  importunately  desired,  so  impatiently  ex- 
pected, and  to  whom  the  patriarchs  had  an  eye 
when  they  were  so  desirous  of  children,  that  they 
might  have  the  honour  of  coming  into  the  sacred 
line.  Blessed  be  God,  we  are  not  now  in  such  a 
dark  and  cloudy  state  of  expectation  as  they  were 
then  in,  but  see  clearly  what  these  prophets  and 
kings  saw  as  through  a  glass  darkly.  And  we  may 
have,  if  it  be  not  our  own  fault,  a  greater  honour 
than  that  of  which  they  were  so  ambitious :  for  they 
who  do  the  will  of  God,  are  in  a  more  honourable 
relation  to  Christ,  than  those  who  were  akin  to  him 
according  to  the  flesh,  ch.  12.  50.  Jesus  is  called 
Christ,  that  is,  the  Anointed,  the  same  with  the 
Hebrew  name  Messiah.    He  is  called  Messiah  the 


Prince,  (Dan.  9.  25.)  and  often  God's  Anointed,  (Ps. 
2.  2.)  Under  this  character  he  was  expected ;  Art 
thou  the  CAris«— the  Anointed  one?  David,  the  king, 
was  anointed;  (1  Sam.  16.  13.)  so  was  Aaron,  the 
priest,  (Lev.  3.  12. )  and  Elisha,  the  prophet,  (1  Kings 
19.  16.)  and  Isaiah,  the  prophet,  (Isa.  61.  1.)  Christ, 
being  appointed  to,  and  qualified  tor,  all  these  offices, 
is  therefore  called  the  Anointed — anointed  luith  the 
oil  of  gladness  above  his  fellows  ;  and  from  this  name 
of  his,  which  is  as  ointment  poured  forth,  all  his  fol- 
lowers are  called  Christians,  for  they  also  have  re- 
ceived the  anointi?ig. 

Lastly.  The  general  summary  of  all  this  gene- 
alogy we  have,  v.  17.  where  it  is  summed  up  in  three 
fourteens,  signalized  by  remarkable  periods.  In  the 
first  fourteen,  we  have  the  family  of  David  rising, 
and  looking  forth  as  the  morning ;  in  the  second,  we 
have  it  flourishing  in  its  meridian  lustre  ;  in  the 
third,  we  have  it  declining  and  growing  less  and  less, 
dwindled  into  the  family  of  a  poor  carpenter,  and 
then  Christ  shines  forth  out  of  it,  the  Glory  of  his 
peofile  Israel, 

1 8.  Now  the  birth  of  Jesus  Christ  was 
on  this  wise :  When  as  liis  motlier  Mary 
was  espoused  to  Joseph,  before  they  came 
together,  she  was  found  with  child  of  the 
Holy  Ghost.  19.  Then  Joseph  her  hus 
band,  being  a  just  man,  and  not  willing  to 
make  her  a  public  example,  was  minded 
to  put  her  awayprivily.  20.  But  while  he 
thought  on  these  things,  behold,  the  angel 
of  the  Lord  appeared  unto  him  in  a  dream, 
saying,  Joseph,  thou  son  of  David,  fear  not 
to  take  unto  thee  Mary  thy  wife  :  for  that 
wliich  is  conceived  in  her  is  of  the  Holy 
Ghost.  21.  And  she  shall  bring  forth  a 
son,  and  thou  shalt  call  his  name  Jesus  : 
for  he  shall  save  his  people  from  their  sins. 
22.  Now  all  this  was  done,  that  it  might 
be  fulfilled  which  was  spoken  of  the  Lord 
by  the  prophet,  saying,  23.  Behold,  a  vir- 
gin shall  be  with  child,  and  shall  bring  forth 
a  son,  and  they  shall  call  his  name  Em- 
manuel, which  being  interpreted,  is,  God 
with  us.  24.  Then  Joseph,  being  raised 
from  sleep,  did  as  the  angel  of  the  Lord 
had  bidden  him,  and  took  unto  him  his 
wife  :  25.  And  knew  her  not  till  she  had 
brought  forth  her  first-born  son :  and  he 
called  his  name  Jesus. 

The  mystery  of  Christ's  incarnation  is  to  be  adoi^ed, 
not  pryei  into.  If  we  know  not  the  way  of  the  S/ii- 
rit  in  the  formation  of  common  persons,  nor  how  the 
bones  are  formed  in  the  womb  of  any  one  that  is  with 
child,  (Eccles.  11.  5.)  much  less  do  we  know  how 
the  blessed  Jesus  was  formed  in  the  womb  of  the 
blessed  Nirgin.  When  David  admires  how  he  hiir.  • 
self  was  made  in  secret,  and  curiously  wrought, 
(Ps.  139.  13 — 16.)  perhaps  he  speaks,  m  spirit,  of 
Christ's  incarnation.  Some  circumstances  attending 
the  birth  of  Christ  we  find  here,  which  are  not  in 
Luke,  though  it  is  more  largely  recorded  there. 
Here  we  have, 

I.  Mary's  espousals  to  Joseph.  Mary,  the  mother 
of  our  Lord,  was  espoused  to  Joseph,  not  completely 
married,  but  contracted  ;  a  purpose  of  marriage 
solemnly  declared  in  words  defuturo — that  regard- 
ed the  future,  and  a  promise  of  it  made  if  God  per 


ST.  MATTtlEW,  J. 


15 


mil.  We  read  of  a  man  who  has  betrothed  a  wife, 
and  has  not  taken  her,  Dcut,  20.  7.  Christ  was 
bom  of  a  virgin,  but  a  contracted  virgin,  1.  To  put 
respect  upon  tlie  married  state,  and  to  rcconiniend 
it  as  honourable  among  all,  against  that  doctrine  of 
dc\  ils  which /orA«/»  to  marry,  and  places  perfection 
in  the  single  state.  \\'ho  more  liighU'  favoured 
than  Mary  was  in  her  espousals  ?  2.  To  save  the 
credit  of  the  blessed  virgin,  which  otherwise  would 
have  been  exposed.  It  was  fit  that  her  conception 
should  be  protected  by  a  mamagc,  and  so  justified 
in  tlie  eye  of  the  world.  One  of  the  ancients  says, 
It  was  better  it  should  be  asked,  Is  not  this  the  son 
of  a  car/ienter?  than.  Is  not  this  the  son  of  a  harlot? 
3.  Tliat  the  blessed  virgin  might  have  one  to  be  the 
guide  of  her  youth,  the  companion  of  her  solitude 
and  travels,  a  partner  in  her  cares,  and  a  help  meet 
for  her.  Some  think  that  Joseph  was  now  a  widower, 
and  that  those  who  are  called  the  brethren  of  Christ, 
{ch.  13.  55.)  were  Joseph's  children  by  a  former 
wife.  This  is  the  conjecture  of  many  of  the  ancients. 
Joseph  was  a  just  man,  she  a  virtuous  -woman. 
Those  who  are  believers  should  not  be  unecjualli/ 
yoked  with  unbelievers  ;  but  let  those  who  are  reli- 
gious choose  to  many  with  those  who  are  so,  as 
they  e.xpect  the  comfort  of  the  relation,  and  God's 
blessing  upon  them  in  it.  We  may  also  leam  from 
this  example,  that  it  is  good  to  enter  hito  the  mar- 
ried state  with  deliberation,  and  not  hastily  ;  to  pre- 
face the  nuptials  with  a  contract  It  is  better  to 
take  time  to  consider  before,  than  to  find  time  to 
repent  after. 

II.  Her  pregnancy  of  the  Promised  Seed  ;  before 
they  came  together,  she  was  found  with  child,  which 
really  was  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  The  man-iage  was 
deferred  so  long  after  the  contract,  that  she  ap- 
peared to  be  with  child,  before  the  time  came  for 
the  solemnizing  of  the  marriage,  though  she  was 
contracted  before  she  conceived.  Probably,  it  was 
after  her  return  from  her  cousin  Elisabeth,  with 
whom  she  continued  three  mont/is,  (Luke  1.  56.) 
that  she  was  percei\ed  by  Joseph  to  be  with  child, 
and  chd  not  herself  deny  it.  Note,  Those  in  whom 
Christ  is  formed,  will  shew  it :  it  will  he  found  to  be 
a  work  of  God,  which  he  will  own.  Now  we  may 
well  imagine,  what  a  perplexity  this  might  justly 
occasion  to  the  blessed  virgin.  She  herself  knew 
the  divine  original  of  this  conception  ;  but  how  could 
she  prove  it  ?  She  would  be  dealt  with  as  with  a  har- 
lot. Note,  After  great  and  high  advancements,  lest 
we  shoidd  be  puffed  up  with  them,  we  must  expect 
something  or  other  to  humble  us  ;  some  reproach, 
as  a  thorn  in  the  flesh,  nay,  as  a  sword  in  the  bones. 
Never  was  any  daughter  of  Eve  so  dignified  as  the 
Virgin  Mary  was,  and  yet  in  danger  of  falling  under 
the  imputation  of  one  of  the  worst  of  crimes ;  yet 
we  do  not  find  that  she  tormented  herself  about  it ; 
being  conscious  of  her  own  innocence,  she  kept  her 
mind  calm  and  easy,  and  committed  her  cause  to  him 
that  judges  righteously.  Note,  Those  who  take 
care  to  keep  a  good  conscience,  may  cheerfully  tnut 
Go<l  with  the  keeping  of  their  good  names,  and 
have  reason  to  hope  that  he  will  clear  up,  not  only 
their  integrity,  but  theii-  honour,  as  the  sun  at  noon 
dav. 

III.  Joseph's  perplexity,  and  his  care  what  to  do 
in  this  case.  W  e  may  well  imagine  what  a  great 
trouble  and  disappointment  it  was  to  him,  to  find 
one  he  had  such  an  opinion  of,  and  value  for,  come 
under  the  suspicion  ol  such  a  heinous  crime.  Is  this 
Mary  ?  He  began  to  think  ;  "  How  may  we  be  de- 
ceived in  those  we  think  best  of  !  How  may  we.be 
disappointed  in  what  we  expect  the  most  from  !" 
He  is  loth  to  believe  so  ill  a  thing  of  one  whom  he 
believed  to  be  so  good  a  woman  ;  and  yet  the  mat- 
ter, as  it  is  too  bad  to  be  excused,  is  also  too  plain 
to  be  denied.    What  a  stiiiggle  does  this  occasion. 


in  his  breast,  between  that  jealousy  which  is  the 
rage  of  man,  and  is  cnicl  as  the  grave,  on  the  one 
liand,  and  that  affection  which  he  has  for  Mary,  on 
the  other. 

Obser\e,  1.  The  extremity  which  he  studied  to 
avoid.  He  was  not  willing  to  make  her  a  fiublic 
cxam/ilc.  He  might  have  done  it ;  for,  by  the  law, 
a  betrothed  virgin,  if  she  play  the  harlot,  was  to  be 
stoned  to  death,  Deut.  22,  23',  24.  But  he  was  not 
willing  io  take  the  advantage  of  the  law  against  her : 
if  she  be  guilty,  yet  it  is  not  known,  nor  slndl  it  be 
known  from  him.  How  different  was  the  spirit  which 
Joseph  displayed  from  that  of  Judah,  who  in  a  simi- 
lar case  hastily  passed  that  severe  sentence,  Bring 
her  forth  and  let  her  be  burnt .'  Gen.  38.  24.  How 
good  is  it  to  think  on  thingn,  as  Joseph  did  here  ! 
v\'ere  there  more  of  deliberation  in  our  censures  and 
judgments,  there  would  be  more  of  mercy  and  mo- 
deration in  them.  Bringing  her  to  jjunishment,  is 
here  called  making  her  a  public  examjile:  which 
shews  what  is  the  end  to  be  aimed  at  in  ijunishments 
— giving  warning  to  others  :  it  is  in  terrorem — that 
all  about  may  hear  and  fear.  Smite  the  scorner,  and 
the  simple  will  beware. 

Some  pereons  of  a  rigorous  temper  would  blame 
Joseph  for  his  clemency,  but  it  is  here  spoken  of  to 
his  pi-aise  ;  because  he  was  a  just  man,  therefore  he 
was  not  willing  to  expose  her.  He  was  a  religious, 
good  man  ;  iuul  therefore  inclined  to  be  merciful  as 
God  is,  and  to forgix'e  as  one  that  v/asforgri'en.  In 
the  case  of  a  betrothed  damsel,  if  she  were  defiled 
in  the  field,  the  law  charitably  supposed  that  she 
cried  out,  (Deut.  22.  26.)  and  she  was  not  to  be 
punished.  Some  charitable  construction  or  other 
Joseph  will  put  upon  this  matter  ;  herein  he  is  a  ji^st 
man,  tender  of  the  good  name  of  one  who  never  be- 
fore had  done  any  thing  to  blemish  it.  Note,  It  be- 
comes us,  in  many  cases,  to  be  gentle  toward  those 
that  come  under  suspicion  of  having  offended,  to 
hope  the  best  concerning. them,  and  make  the  best 
of  that  which  at  first  appears  bad,  in  hopes  it  may 
prove  better.  Summum  jus  summa  injuria — Thi 
rigour  of  the  law  is  (sometimes)  the  height  of  injus 
tice.  Tiiat  court  of  conscience  which  moderates  the 
rigour  of  the  law,  we  call  a  court  of  equity.  Those 
who  are  found  faulty  were  perhaps  overtaken  in  the 
fault,  and  are  therefore  to  be  restoredwith  thesfiirit 
of  meek7iess. 

2.  The  expedient  he  found  out  for  avoiding  this 
extremity.  He  was  minded  to  put  her  away  prfvily, 
that  is,  to  give  a  bill  of  di\orce  into  her  hand  before 
two  witnesses,  and  so  to  hush  up  the  matter  among 
themselves.  Being  a  just  man,  a  strict  obseirer  of 
the  law,  he  would  not  proceed  to  marry  her,  but 
resolved  to  put  her  away  ;  and  yet,  in  tenderness 
for  her,  determined  to  do  it  as  privately  as  possible. 
Note,  the  necessary  censures  of  those  who  nave  of- 
fended, ought  to  be  managed  without  noise.  The 
words  of  the  wise  are  heard  in  quiet.  Christ  himself 
shall  not  strii'e  nor  cry.  Christian  love  and  christian 
prudence  will  hide  a  multitude  of  sins,  and  great 
ones,  as  far  as  may  be  done  without  having  fellow- 
ship with  them. 

IV.  Joseph's  discharge  from  this  perplexity  by  an 
express  sent  from  heaven  ;  {y.  20,  21.)  Jf7iile  he 
thought  on  these  things,  and  knew  not  what  to  deter- 
mine, God  graciously  directed  him  what  to  do,  and 
made  hira  easy.  Note,  Those  who  would  have  di- 
rection from  God,  must  think  on  things  themselves, 
and  consult  with  themselves.  It  is  the  thoughtful, 
not  the  unthinking,  whom  God  will  guide.  \Vnen 
he  was  at  a  loss,  and  had  carried  the  matter  as  far 
as  he  could  in  his  own  thoughts,  then  God  came  in 
with  advice.  Note,  God's  time  to  come  in  with  in- 
struction to  his  people,  is  when  they  are  nonplussed, 
and  at  a  stand.  God's  comforts  most  delight  the 
soul,  in  the  multitude  of  its  perplexed  thoughts. 


16 


ST.  MATTHEW,  I. 


The  message  was  sent  to  Joseph  by  an  angel  of 
the  Lord ;  probably,  the  same  angel  that  brought 
to  Mary  the  tidings  of  the  conception — the  angel 
Gabriel.  Now  the  intercourse  with  heaven,  by 
angels,  with  which  the  patriarchs  had  been  digni- 
fied, but  which  had  been  long  disused,  begins  to  be 
revived ;  for  when  the  First- Begotten  is  to  he  brought 
into  the  world,  the  angels  are  ordered  to  attend  his 
motions.  How  far  God  may  now,  in  an  invisible 
way,  make  use  of  the  ministration  of  angels,  for  ex- 
tricating his  people  out  of  their  straits,  we  cannot 
say  ;  but  this  we  are  sure  of,  they  are  all  ministering 
spirits  for  their  good.  This  angel  appeared  to  Joseph 
in  a  dream,  when  he  was  asleep,  as  God  sometimes 
spake  unto  the  fathers.  When  we  are  most  quiet 
and  composed,  we  aie  in  the  best  frame  to  receive 
the  notices  of  the  divine  will.  The  Spirit  moves  on 
the  calm  waters.  This  dream,  no  doubt,  carried 
its  own  evidence  along  with  it,  that  it  was  of  God, 
and  not  the  production  of  a  vain  fancy. 

Now,  1.  Joseph  is  here  directed  to  proceed  in  his 
intended  marriage.  The  angel  calls  him,  Joseph, 
thou  son  of  David :  he  puts  him  in  mind  of  his  re- 
lation to  Dav'id,  that  he  might  be  prepared  to  receive 
this  surprising  intelligence  of  his  relation  to  the 
Messiah,  who,  every  one  knew,  was  to  be  a  des- 
cendant from  David.  Sometimes,  when  great  ho- 
nours devolve  upon  those  who  have  small  estates, 
they  care  not  for  accepting  them,  but  are  will- 
ing to  drop  them ;  it  was  therefore  requisite  to 
put  this  poor  caipenter  in  mind  of  his  high  birth  ; 
"  Value  thyself.  Joseph,  thou  art  that  son  of  David, 
through  whom  the  line  of  the  Messiah  is  to  be 
drawn."  We  may  thus  say  to  eveiy  true  believer ; 
"  Fear  not,  thou  son  of  Abraham,  thou  child  of  God  ; 
forget  not  the  dignity  of  thy  birth,  tliy  new  birth." 
Fear  not  to  take  Mary  for  thy  wife ;  so  it  may  be 
read.  Joseph,  suspecting  she  was  with  child  by 
whoredom,  was  afraid  of  taking  her,  lest  he  should 
bring  upon  himself  either  guilt  or  reproach.  No, 
saith  God,  Fear  not ;  the  matter  is  not  so.  Perhaps 
Maiy  had  told  him  that  she  was  with  child  bv  the 
Holy  Ghost,  and  he  might  have  heard  what  Elisa- 
beth said  to  her,  (Luke  1.  42.)  wlien  she  called  her 
the  mother  of  her  Lord;  and  if  so,  he  was  afraid  of 
presumption  in  marrying  one  so  much  above  him. 
But  from  whatever  cause  his  fears  arose,  they  were 
all  silenced  with  this  word.  Fear  not  to  take  unto 
thee  Mary  thy  wife.  Note,  It  is  a  great  mercy  to 
be  delivered  from  our  fears,  and  to  have  our  doubts 
resolved,  so  as  to  proceed  in  our  affairs  with  satis- 
faction. 

2.  He  is  here  informed  concerning  that  Ifoly 
Thing,  with  which  his  espoused  wife  was  now  preg- 
nant. That  which  is  conceived  in  her,  is  of  a'divine 
original.  He  is  so  far  from  being  in  danger  of  shar- 
ing in  an  impurity  by  marrying  her,  that  he  will 
thereby  share  in  the  highest 'dignity  he  is  capable 
of.     Two  things  he  is  told, 

(1.)  That  she  had  conceived  by  the  power  of  the 
Holy  Ghost ;  not  by  the  power  of  nature.  The 
Holy  Spirit,  who  produced  the  world,  now  produced 
the  Saviour  of  the  world,  and  prepared  him  a  body, 
as  was  promised  him,  when  he  said,  Lo,  I  come, 
Heb.  10.  5.  Hence  he  is  said  to  be  made  of  a  woman, 
(Gal.  4.  4.)  and  yet  to  be  that  second  Mam,  that 
is,  the  Lord  from  heaven,  1  Cor.  15.  47.  He  is  the 
Son  of  God,  and  yet  so  far  partakes  of  the  substance 
of  his  mother,  as  to  be  called  the  Fruit  of  her  womb, 
Luke  1.  42.  It  was  requisite  that  his  conception 
should  be  othenvise  than  by  ordinary  generation, 
that  so,  though  he  partook  of  the  human  nature,  yet 
he  might  escape  the  corruption  and  pollution  of  it, 
and  not  be  conceived  and  shapen  in  iniquity.  His- 
tory tells  us  of  some  who  vainly  pretended  to  have 
conceived  by  a  di\'ine  power,  as  the  mother  of  Alex- 
ander ;  but  none  ever  really  did  so,  except  the  mother 


of  our  Lord.  His  name  in  this,  as  in  other  things,  is, 
JVonderful.  We  do  not  read  that  the  Virgin  Mary 
did  herself  proclaim  the  honour  done  her ;  but  she 
hid  it  in  her  heart,  and  therefore  God  sent  an  angel 
to  attest  it.  Those  who  seek  not  their  own  glory 
shall  have  the  honour  that  comes  from  God ;  it  is 
reseiTed  for  the  humble. 

(2. )  That  she  should  bring  forth  the  Saviour  of  the 
world;  {v.  21.)  She  shall  bring  forth  a  Son;  what 
he  shjill  be,  is  intimated, 

[1.]  In  the  name  that  should  be  given  to  her  Son ; 
Thou  shall  call  his  name  Jesus,  a  Saviour.  Jesus 
is  the  same  name  with  Joshua,  the  termination  only 
being  changed,  for  the  sake  of  confonning  it  to  the 
Greek.  Joshua  is  called  Jesus,  (Acts  7.  45.  Heb. 
4.  8.)  from  the  Seventy.  There  were  two  of  that 
name  under  the  Old  Testament,  who  were  both  il- 
lustrious types  of  Christ ;  Joshua,  who  was  Israel's 
Captain  at  their  first  settlement  in  Canaan ;  and 
Joshua,  who  was  their  High-Priest  at  their  second 
settlement  after  the  captivity,  Zech.  6.  11,  12. 
Christ  is  our  Joshua ;  both  the  Captain  of  our  sal- 
vation, and  the  High-Prie<<i  of  our  profession ^  and, 
in  both,  our  Saviour ; — a  Joshua  who  comes  m  the 
stead  of  Moses,  and  does  that  for  us,  which  the  lam 
could  not  do,  in  that  it  was  weak.  Joshua  had  been 
called  Hoshea,  but  Moses  prefixed  the  first  syllable 
of  the  name  Jehovah,  and  so  made  it  Jehoshua, 
(Numb.  13.  16.)  to  intimate  that  the  Messiah,  who 
was  to  bear  that  name,  should  be  Jehovah ;  he  is 
therefore  able  to  save  to  the  uttermost,  neither  is 
there  salvation  in  any  other. 

[2.]  In  the  reason  of  that  name ;  For  he  shall  save 
his  people  from  their  sins  ;  not  the  nation  of  the  Jews 
only,  (he  came  to  his  own,  and  they  received  him 
not,)  but  all  who  were  given  him  by  the  Father's 
choice,  and  all  who  have  given  themselves  to  him  by 
their  own.  He  is  a  King  who  protects  his  subjects, 
and,  as  the  Judges  of  Israel  of  old,  works  salvation 
for  them.  Note,  Those  whom  Christ  saves,  he  saves  "^ 
from  their  sins  ;  from  the  guilt  of  sin  by  the  merit 
of  his  death,  from  the  dominion  of  sin  by  the  Spirit 
of  his  grace.  In  saving  them  from  sin,  he  saves  them 
from  wrath  and  the  curse,  and  all  misery  here  and 
hereafter.  Christ  came  to  save  his  people,  not  in 
their  sins,  hut  from  their  sins  ;  to  purchase  for  them, 
not  a  liberty  lo  sin,  but  a  liberty  yVon!  sitis,  to  redeem 
them  from  all  iniquity ;  (Tit.  2.  14.)  and  so  to  redeem 
them  from  among  men,  (Rev.  14.  4.)  to  himself,  who 
is  separate  from  sinners.  So  that  those  who  leave 
their  sins,  and  give  up  themselves  to  Christ  as  his 
people,  are  interested  in  the  Saviour,  and  the  great 
salvation  which  he  has  wrought  out,  Rom.  11.  26. 

V.  The  fulfilling  of  the  scripture,  in  all  this.  This 
evangelist,  writing  among  the  Jews,  more  frequently 
observes  this  than  any  other  of  the  evangelists. 
Hei-e,  the  Old-Testament  prophecies  had  their  ac- 
complishment in  our  Lord  Jesus ;  by  which  it  ap- 
pears, that  this  was  He  that  should  come,  and  we 
are  to  look  for  no  other ;  for  this  was  He  lo  whom  all 
Ifie  pro/ihets  bear  witness.  Now  the  scripture  that 
was  fulfilled  in  the  birth  of  Christ,  was  that  promise 
of  a  sign  which  God  gave  to  king  Ahaz,  (Isa.  7.  14.) 
Behold,  a  virgin  shall  conceive  ;  where  the  prophet, 
encouraging  the  people  of  God  to  hope  for  the  pro- 
mised deliverance  from  Sennacherib's  invasion,  di- 
rects them  to  look  forward  to  the  Messiah,  who  was 
to  come  of  the  people  of  the  Jews,  and  the  house  of 
David ;  whence  it  was  easy  to  infer,  that  though 
that  people  and  that  house  were  afflicted,  yet  neither 
the  one  nor  the  other  could  be  abandoned  to  rtiin, 
so-long  as  God  had  such  an  honour,  such  a  blessing, 
in  reserve  for  them.  The  deliverances  which  God 
■wrought  for  the  Old-Testament  church,  were  types 
and  figures  of  the  great  salvation  by  Christ  ;  and  if 
God  will  do  the  greater,  he  will  not  fail  to  do  the 
less. 


ST.  MATTHEW,  II. 


17 


The  prophecy  here  quoted  is  justly  ushered  in 
with  a  Jii-ltold,  whicii  ccinmuiiuls  both  attention  ;uid 
admiration  ;  for  v.e  liavc  here  the  mystery  of  god- 
liness, which  is,  without  controverey,  great,  that 
God  iiHis  mauiftstcd  in  fhejicah. 

1.  The  sign  given  us,  that  the  Messiah  shall  be 
born  of  a  virg-in.  A  virgin  shall  conceix-e,  and,  by 
h.er,  he  shall  be  manifested  in  lliejliah.  The  word 
jihnah  signifies  a  virgin,  in  the  stiictest  sense,  such 
as  Mary  professes  herself  to  be,  I^iikc  1.  34.  I knoiv 
not  a  man  ;  nor  had  it  been  anv  such  wonderful  siCTi 
as  it  was  intended  for,  if  it  had  been  otherwise,  it 
was  intimated  from  the  bcginninij  that  the  Messiah 
should  be  born  of  a  \  irgin,  when  it  was  said  that  he 
should  be  the  Si-ed  of  the  ivoman  ;  so  the  Seed  of 
the  woman,  as  not  to  be  the  seed  of  any  man.  Christ 
was  born  of  a  virgin,  not  only  because  his  birth  was 
to  be  su/iernatural,  and  altogether  extraordinar\-, 
but  because  it  was  to  be  s/iotl<ss,  and  pure,  and  with- 
out any  stain  of  sin.  Clirist  would  be  bom,  not  of 
an  Em/iri'ss  or  Queen,  for  he  a])peared  not  in  outward 
pomp  or  splendour,  but  of  a  \irgin,  to  teach  us  spirit- 
ual purity,  to  die  to  all  the  delights  of  sense,  and  so  to 
/cee/i  ourselves  ;^H.9/iO^'c(/ from  the  world  and  the  flesh, 
that  we  may  be  presented  chaste  virgins  to  Christ. 

2.  The  tinith  proved  by  this  sign  is,  that  he  is  the 
Son  of  (Jod,  and  the  Mediator  between  God  and  man  ; 
for  they  shall  call  his  name  Immanuet ;  that  is,  he 
shall  be  Immanuel ;  when  it  is  said  He  shall  be  called, 
it  is  meant,  he  shall  be,  the  Lord  our  Righteousness. 
/mOTc/MKc/ signifies  God  with  us;  a  mysterious  name, 
but  verv  precious ;  God  incarnate  among  us,  and  so 
God  reconcilable  to  us,  at  peace  with  us,  and  takiiig  us 
into  covenant  and  comnumion  with  himself.  The 
people  of  the  Jews  had  God  ivith  them,  in  types  and 
shadows,  dwelling  between  the  cheinibim  ;  but  never 
so  as  when  the  Word  was  made  flesh — that  was  the 
blessed  Shechinah.  \\"hat  a  happy  step  is  hereby 
taken  toward  the  settling  of  a  peace  and  correspond- 
ence between  God  and  man,  that  the  two  natures 
are  thus  bro\ight  together  in  the  person  of  the  Me- 
diator ;  by  this  he  became  an  unexceptionable  Re- 
feree, a  Days-Man,  fit  to  lay  his  hand  ii/ion  them 
both,  since  he  partakes  of  the  nature  of  both.  Be- 
hold, in  this,  the  deepest  mystery,  and  the  richest 

nercy,  that  ever  was.  By  the  light  of  nature,  we 
see  God  as  a  God  above  us  ;  by  the  light  of  the  law, 
we  see  him  as  a  God  against  us  ;  but  bv  the  light  of 
the  gospel,  we  sec  him  as  Immanuel,  God  with  us, 
I  in  our  own  nature,  and  (which  is  more)  in  our  inte- 
rest Herein  the  Redeemer  commended  his  love. 
With  Christ's  name  Immanuel  we  mav  compare  the 
name  gi\en  to  the  gospel  church.  (Ezek.  48.  35.) 
Jehovah  Shammah — The  Lord  is  there;  the  Lord 
of  hosts  is  with  us. 

Nor  is  it  improper  to  say  tliattlie  prophecy  which 
foretold  that  he  should  be  called  Immanuel,  was 
fulfilled  in  the  design  and  intention  of  it,  when  he 
was  called  Jesus  ;  for  if  he  had  not  been  Immanuel 
— God  with  us,  he  could  not  have  been  Jesus — .4 
I  Saviour;  andhereinconsiststhesalvation  he  wrought 
'  out,  in  the  bringing  of  God  and  man  together ;  this 
was  what  he  designed,  to  bnng  (;od  to  be  with  us, 
which  is  our  great  happiness,  and  to  bring  us  to  be 
•mith  God,  which  is  our  great  dut\-. 

VI.  Joseph's  obedience  to  the  divine  precept ;  (v. 
24.)  being  raised  from  slee/i  by  the  impression  which 
the  dream  made'upon  him,  he  did  as  the  angel  of  the 
Lord  had  bidden  him,  though  it  was  contrary-  to  his 
fomicr  sentiments  and  intentions;  he  tool:  unto  htm 
bis  nvife;  he  did  it  speedily,  without  delav,  aiid 
r.heerhilly,  without  dispute  ;  he  was  not  disobedient 
to  the  heavenly  -lision.  Extraordinary  direction 
like  this  we  are  not  now  to  expect ;  but  God  has 
still  ways  of  making  known  his  mind  in  doubtful 
cases,  by  hints  of  providence,  debates  of  conscience, 
and  advice  of  faithful  friends ;  by  each  of  these,  an- 

VoL.  v.— C 


plying  the  general  rules  of  the  written  wci-d,  we 
shoidd,  therefore,  in  all  the  steps  of  our  life,  parti- 
cularly the  great  turns  of  if,  such  as  this  of  Joseph's, 
take  dii-cction  from  God,  and  we  shall  find  it  safe 
;uid  comfortable  to  do  as  he  bids  us. 

VII.  The  accomplishment  of  the  divine  promise  ; 
{w  25.)  Hhe  brought  forth  her  Jirst-bom  son.  The 
circumstances  of  it  are  more  largely  related,  Luke 
2.  1,  &c.  Note,  That  which  is  concerird  of  the 
Holy  Ghost  never  proves  abortixH;  but  will  certainly 
be  brought  forth  in  its  season.  M'hat  is  of  the  will 
ofthejlesb,  and  of  the  will  of  man,  often  miscarries; 
but  if  Christ  he  formed  in  the  soul,  God  himself  has 
begun  the  good  work  which  he  will  perform  ;  what 
is  conceir~.'cd  in  grace,  will,  no  doubt,  be  brought  forth 
in  glory. 

It  is  liere  further  observed,  1.  That  Joseph,  though 
he  solemnized  the  maniage  with  Marv,  his  espous- 
ed wife,  kept  at  a  distance  from  her  while  she  was 
with  ch'M  of  this  holy  thing  ;  he  knew  her  not  till 
she  had  broui;h!  him  forth.  Much  has  Ijeen  said 
concerning  the  peipetual  virginity  of  the  mother  of 
our  Lord ;  Jerome  was  verv'  angiy  with  Helvidius 
for  denying  it.  It  is  certain  that  it  cannot  be  proved 
from  scripture.  Dr.  J/ 'A/Wy  inclines  to  think,  that 
when  it  is  said,  Joseph  knew  her  not  till  she  had 
brought  forth  herjirst-boni,  it  is  intimated  that,  af- 
terward, the  reason  ceasing,  he  lived  with  her,  ac- 
cording to  the  law,  Exod.  21.  10.  2.  That  Christ 
was  the  First  -  Born ;  and  so  he  might  be  called, 
though  his  mother  had  not  any  other  children  after 
him,  according  to  the  language  of  scripture.  Nor 
was  it  without  a  mysteiy  that  Christ  is  called  her 
First-Born,  for  he  is  the  First-born  of  every  crea- 
ture, that  is,  the  Heir  of  all  things  ;  and  he  is  the 
First-Born  among  many  brethren,  that  in  all  things 
he  may  ha\e  the  pre-eminence.  3.  That  Joseph 
called  his  name  Jesus,  according  to  the  direction 
given  him.  CJod  having  apfiohued  him  to  be  the 
Sa\  iour,  which  was  intimated  in  his  giving  him  the 
name  Jesus,  we  must  accept  of  him  to  be  our  Savi- 
our., and,  in  concurrence  with  that  appointment,  we 
must  call  him  Jesus,  our  Saviour. 


CHAP.  H. 

In  this  chapter,  we  have  the  history  of  our  Saviour's  infancy, 
where  ive  find  liow  early  he  betran  to  suffer,  and  that  in 
him  the  word  of  righteousness  was  fullilled,  before  him- 
self began  to  fulfil  all  rinhleousness.  Here  is,  I.  The 
wise  men's  solicitous  inquiry  after  Christ,  v.  I.  .  8.  II. 
Their  devout  attendance  nn  him,  when  they  found  out 
wliere  he  was,  v.  9.  .  12.  III.  Christ's  flight  into  Egypt, 
to  avoid  the  cruelty  of  Herod,  v.  13.  .  15.  IV.  The  bar- 
barous murder  of  the  infants  of  Bethlehem,  v.  16.  .  18. 
V.  Christ's  return  out  of  Egvpt  into  the  land  of  Israel 
again,  v.  19.  .  23. 

1 .  I^TOW  when  Jesus  was  born  in  Betli- 
j3i  Ichcm  of  Judea  in  the  days  of  Herod 
the  king,  behold,  llicre  ramc  wise  men 
from  the  east  to  .Tertisah-m,  2.  Saying 
Where  is  he  tliat  is  born  King  of  the  Jews? 
For  we  have  seen  his  star  in  the  east,  and 
are  come  to  \\orsIiip  him.  3.  When  He- 
rod the  king  had  licard  these  things,  he 
was  troubled,  and  all  Jerusalem  with  him. 
4.  And  when  he  had  gathered  all  the  chief 
priests  and  scribes  of  the  people  together, 
he  demanded  of  them  where  Christ  should 
be  born.  5.  And  they  said  unto  him,  In 
Bethlehem  of  Judea:  for  thus  it  is  written 
by  the  prophet.  6.  And  thou  Bethlehem. 
in  the  land  of  Juda,  ait  not  the  least 
I  among  the  princes  of  Juda :    for  out  ol 


18 


ST.  MATTHE\^r,  H. 


thee  shall  come  a  Governor,  that  shall  rule 
my  people  Israel.  7.  Then  Herod,  when 
he  had  privily  called  the  wise  men,  in- 
quired of  them  diligently  what  time  the 
star  appeared.  8.  And  he  sent  them  to 
Bethlehem,  and  said,  Go  and  search  dili- 
gently for  the  young  child;  and  when  ye 
have  found  him,  bring  me  word  again,  that 
I  may  come  and  worship  him  also. 

It  was  a  mark  of  hmniliation  put  upon  the  Lord 
Jesus,  that  though  he  was  the  Desire  of  alt  nations, 
yet  his  coming  into  the  world  was  httle  obsen'ed 
and  taken  notice  of,  his  birth  was  obscure  and  unre- 
garded :  herein  he  emptied  himself,  and  made  him- 
self of  no  reputation.  If  the  son  of  God  must  be 
brought  into  the  world,  one  might  justly  expect  that 
he  should  be  received  with  all  the  ceremony  possi- 
ble ;  that  crowns  and  sceptres  skould  i.Timediately 
have  been  laid  at  his  feet,  ana  that  the  high  and 
mighty  princes  of  the  world  should  have  been  his 
humble  servants ;  such  a  Messiah  as  this  the  Jews 
expected,  but  we  see  none  of  all  this  ;  he  came  into 
the  •world,  and  the  world  knew  him  7iot ;  nay,  he  catne 
to  his  own,  and  his  own  received  him  not ;  for  having 
imdertaken  to  make  satisfaction  to  his  Father  for 
the  wrong  done  him  in  his  honour  by  the  sin  of  man, 
he  did  it  by  denying  himself  in,  and  despoiling  him- 
self of,  the  honours  undoubtedly  due  to  an  incarnate 
Deity  ;  yet,  as  afterward,  so  in  his  birth,  some  rays 
of  glory  darted  forth  in  the  midst  of  the  greatest 
insta'nces  of  his  abasement.  Though  t/iere  was  the 
hiding  of  his  fiower,  yet  he  had  beams  coming  out 
of  his  hayid,  (Hab.  3.  4.)  enough  to  condemn  the 
world,  and  the  Jews  especially,  for  their  stupidity. 

The  first  who  took  notice  of  Christ  ?''ter  his  birth, 
were  the  shepherds,  (Luke  2.  15,  fee.)  who  saw  and 
heard  glorious  things  conce:Tiing  him,  and  made 
them  known  abroad,  to  thi>  amazement  of  ;dl  that 
heard  them,  v.  17,  18.  After  that,  Simeon  and  Anna 
spake  of  him,  by  the  Spirit,  to  all  that  were  dispo- 
sed to  heed  what  they  said,  Luke  2,  38.  Now,  one 
would  think,  these  hints  should  have  been  taken  by 
the  men  of  Judah  and  the  inhabitants  of  Jerusalem, 
and  they  should  with  both  arms  have  embraced  tlie 
long-looked-for  Messiah  ;  but,  for  aught  that  ap- 
pears, he  continued  nearly  two  years  after  at  Beth- 
lehem, and  no  further  notice  was  taken  of  him  till 
these  wise  men  came.  Note,  Nothing  will  awaken 
those  that  are  resolved  to  be  regardless.  Oh  the 
amazing  stupidity  of  these  Jews!  And  no  less,  that 
of  many  who  are  called  christians  !     Observe, 

I.  'V\Tien  this  enquiry  was  made  concerning 
Christ ;  it  was  in  the  days  of  Herod  the  King.  This 
Herod  was  an  Edomite,  made  king  of  judea  by 
Augustus  and  Antonius,  the  then  chief  nilers  of 

.  the  Roman  state,  a  man  made  up  of  falsehood  and 
cruelty  ;  yet  he  was  complimented  with  the  title  of 
Herod  the  Great.  Christ  was  bom  in  the  35th  year 
of  his  reign,  and  notice  is  taken  of  this,  to  shew 
that  the  sce/itre  was  now  departed  from  Judah,  and 
the  lawgiver  from  between  his  feet ;  and  therefore 
now  was  the  time  for  Shiloh  to  come,  and  to  him 

.  shall  the  gathering  of  the  /leofile  be,  witness  the  wise 
men,  Gen.  49.  10. 

II.  'V^Tio  and  what  these  ivise  men  were  ;  they 
are  here  called  Miym — Magicians.  Some  take  it 
in  a  good  sense  ;  the  Magi  among  the  Persians  v/ere 
their  philosophers,  and  their  priests ;  nor  would 
they  admit  any  one  for  their  king  who  had  not  first 
been  enrolled  among  the  Magi ;  others  think  they 
dealt  in  unlawful  arts ;  the  word  is  used  of  Simon, 
the  sorcerer,  (Acts  8.  9,  11.)  and  of  EhTuas,  the 
sorcerer,  (Acts  13.  6.)  nor  does  the  scripture  use 
it  in  any  other  sense ;  and  then  it  was  an  early  in- 


stance and  presage  of  Christ's  victory  over  the 
Devil,  when  those  who  had  been  so  much  his  devo- 
tees, became  the  early  adorers  even  of  the  infant 
Jesus  ;  so  soon  were  trophies  of  his  victoiy  over  the 
powers  of  darkness  erected.  Well,  whatever  sort 
of  wise  men  they  were  before,  now  they  began  to 
be  wise  men  indeed  when  they  set  themselves  to 
to  inquire  after  Christ. 

This  we  are  sure  of,  1.  That  they  were  Gentiles, 
and  not  belonging  to  the  commonwealth  of  Israel. 
The  Jews  regarded  not  Christ,  but  these  Gentiles 
inquired  him  out.  Note,  Many  times  those  who 
are  nearest  to  the  means,  are  furthest  from  the  end. 
See  ch.  8.  11,  12.  The  respect  paid  to  Christ  by 
these  Gentiles  was  a  happy  presage  and  specimen 
of  what  would  follow,  when  those  who  were  afar 
off  should  be  made  nigh  by  Christ.  2.  That  they 
were  scholars,  they  dealt  in  arts,  curious  arts ;  good 
scholars  should  be  good  christians,  and  then  they 
complete  their  learning  when  they  learn  Christ. 
3.  1  hat  they  were  men  of  the  east,  who  were  noted 
for  their  soothsaying,  Isa.  2.  6.  Arabia  is  called  the 
land  of  the  east,  (Gen.  25.  6.)  and  the  Arabians  are 
called,  Me7i  of  the  east,  Judg.  6.  3.  The  presents 
they  brought  were  the  products  of  that  countiy  ;  the 
Arabians  had  done  homage  to  David  and  Solomon 
as  types  of  Christ.  Jethro  and  Job  were  of  that 
country.  More  than  this  we  have  not  to  say  of 
them.  The  traditions  of  the  Romish  church  are 
frivolous,  that  they  were  in  number  three,  (though 
one  of  the  ancients  says  that  they  were  fourteen,) 
that  they  were  kings,  and  that  they  lie  buried  in 
Colen,  thence  called  the  thire  kings  of  Colcn;  we 
covet  not  to  be  wise  above  what  is  written. 

III.  What  induced  them  to  make  this  inquiry. 
They,  in  their  countrj^,  which  was  in  the  east,  had 
seen  an  extraordinary  star,  such  as  they  had  not 
seen  before  ;  which  they  took  to  be  an  indication  of 
an  extraordinarT,r  person  born  in  the  land  of  Judea, 
over  which  land  this  star  was  seen  to  hover,  in  the 
nature  of  a  comet,  or  a  meteor  rather,  in  the  lower 
regions  of  the  air  ;  this  differed  so  much  from  any 
thing  that  was  common,  that  they  concluded  it  to 
signify  something  uncommon.  Note,  Extraordinaiy 
appearances  of  God  in  the  creatures,  should  put  us 
upon  inquiring  after  his  mind  and  will  therein  ; 
Christ  foretold  signs  in  the  heavens.  The  birth  of 
Christ  was  notified  to  the  Jewish  shepherds  by  an 
angel,  to  the  Gentile  philosophers  by  a  star ;  to 
whom  God  spake  in  their  own  language,  and  in  the 
way  they  were  best  acquainted  with.  Some  think 
that  that  veiy  light  which  the  shepherds  saw  shi- 
ning round  about  them  tlie  night  after  Christ  was 
bom,  was  the  veiy  same  which,  to  the  wise  men 
who  lived  at  such  a  distance,  appeared  as  a  star  ; 
which  we  cannot  easily  admit,  because  the  star  they 
had  seen  in  the  i°o«?,  they 'saw  a  great  while  after, 
leading  them  to  the  house  where  Christ  lay  ;  it  was 
a  candle  set  up  on  puipose  to  guide  them  to  Christ. 
The  idolaters  worshipped  the  stars  as  the  host  of 
heaven,  especially  the  eastern  nations,  whence  the 
planets  have  the  names  of  their  idol-gods ;  we 
read  of  a  particular  star  they  had  in  veneration, 
Amos  5.  26.  Thus  the  stars  that  had  been  misused, 
came  to  be  put  to  the  right  use,  to  lead  men  to 
Christ ;  the  gods  of  the  heathen  became  his  ser- 
vants. Some  think  this  star  put  them  in  mind  of 
Balaam's  prophecy,  that  a  star  should  come  out  of 
Jacob,  pointing  at  a  .sceptre  that  shall  rise  out  of  Is- 
rael; see  Numb.  24.  17.  Balaam  came  froin  the 
mou7itains  of  the  east,  and  was  one  of  their  wise 
men.  Othei's  impute  their  inquir)'  to  the  genei-al 
expectation  entertained  at  that  time,  in  those  eas- 
tern  parts,  of  some  great  prince  to  appear ;  Taci- 
tus, in  his  histon-,  (Lib.  v. J  takes  notice  of  it; 
Pluribus persuasio  inerat,  antic/uissacerdotum  Uteris 
contineri,  eo  ipso  tempore  fore,  ut  valesceret  Oriens, 


ST.  MATTHEW,  II. 


19 


firofectit/uti  Judxd  rcrum  /lolircntur — ^  Jienuasion 
exintcd  ill  the  niiiuls  of  many,  that  some  aiicirrit  tvri- 
tin^K  of  the  Jiriests  contained  a  firediction  that  about 
that  time  an  eastern  noiver  would  /irevai/,  and  that 
persons  firoceeding  from  Judea  ivoutd  obtain  domi- 
nion. Suetonius  also,  in  the  life  of  Vesfiasian,  speaks 
of  it ;  so  that  this  extraoitliiiary  pheiiomeiKui  was 
construed  as  pointing  to  ;/;a^  ^'i>'S;  ami  wc  may  su])- 

Eose  adivine  nnpression  made  upon  their  minds,  ena- 
lins  them  to  intci-])ret  this  star  as  a  sigiial  j;iven 
by  Heaven  of  the  birth  of  Christ. 

IV'.  How  they  prosecuted  this  inquiry.  They 
came  from  the  east  to  Jerusalem,  in  fiulher  quest  of 
this  ])rince.  WHiither  should  they  come  to  inquire 
for  the  king  of  the  Jews,  but  to  Jerusalem,  the 
mother-citv,  ii'hither  the  tribes  go  uji,  the  tribes  of 
the  Lord?  Thev  niis^ht  have  said,  "  If  such  a 
prince  should  be  bom,  we  shall  hear  of  him  shortly 
m  our  own  country,  and  it  will  be  time  enough  then 
to  pay  our  homage  to  him."  But  so  impatient  were 
they  to  be  better  acquainted  with  him,  that  thev 
took  a  long  journey  on  purpose  to  inquire  after  him. 
Note,  Those  who  tiid)'  desire  to  know  Christ,  and 
find  him,  will  not  regard  pains  or  perils  in  .seeking 
after  him.  Then  shall  lue  know,  if  we  follow  on  to 
know  the  Lord. 

Their  question  is,  mere  is  he  that  is  bom  king  of 
the  Jews  ?  They  do  not  ask,  whether  there  was  such 
a  one  born  ;  (they  are  sure  of  that,  and  speak  of  it 
with  assurance,  so  .strongly  was  it  set  home  upon 
their  hearts  ;)  but.  Where  is  he  born?  Note,  Those 
who  know  something  of  Christ,  cannot  but  covet  to 
know  more  of  him.  They  call  Christ  the  King  of 
the  Jenvs,  for  so  the  Messiah  was  expected  to  be  : 
and  he  is  Protector  and  Ruler  of  all  the  spiritual 
Israel,  he  is  bom  a  King. 

To  this  question  they  doubted  not  but  to  have  a 
ready  answer,  and  to  find  all  Jei-usalem  worshipping 
at  the  feet  of  this  new  King ;  but  thej'  come  from 
door  to  door  with  this  question,  and  no  man  can  gi\e 
them  any  infoi-mation.  Note,  There  is  more  gross 
ignorance  in  the  world,  and  in  the  chiuTh  too,  than 
we  are  aware  of.  Many  that  we  think  should  di- 
rect us  to  Christ,  are  themselves  strangers  to  him. 
They  ask,  as  the  spouse  of  the  daughters  of  Jeru- 
salem, Saw  ye  him  whom  mu  soul  loveth  ?  But 
they  are  never  the  wiser.  However,  like  the 
spouse,  they  pursue  the  inquii-v.  Where  is  he  that  is 
born  king  of  the  Jews.'  Are  thev  asked,  "Whv 
do  ye  make  this  inquirj-  ?"  It  is  because  thev  have 
seen  his  star  in  the  east.  .\re  they  asked,  "What 
business  have  ye  with  him .'  \Miat  ha\e  the  men 
of  the  east  to  do  with  the  Kmg  of  the  Jews?" 
They  have  their  answer  readv;  Jt'e  are  come  to 
ivorshifi  him.  They  conclude  he  will,  in  process  of 
time,  be  their  King,  and  therefore  they  will  betimes 
in^n'atiate  themselves  with  him,  and  with  those 
about  him.  Note,  Those  in  whose  hearts  the  day- 
star  is  risen,  to  give  them  any  thing  of  the  know- 
ledge of  Christ,  must  make  it  their  business  to  wor- 
ship him.  Have  we  seen  Christ's  star?  Let  us 
study  to  give  him  honour. 

V.  How.  this  inquiry  was  treated  at  Jerusalem. 
News  of  it  at  last  came  to  court ;  and  when  Herod 
heard  it,  he  was  troubled,  v.  5.  He  could  not  be  a 
stranger  to  the  prophecies  of  the  Old  Testament, 
concerning  the  iVIessiah  and  his  kingdom,  and  the 
times  fixed  for  his  appearing  bv  D.iniel's  weeks ; 
but,  having  himself  reigned  so  long  and  so  success- 
fully, he  began  to  hope  that  those  promises  would 
forever  fail,  and  that  his  kingdom  should  be  estab- 
lished and  pei-petuatcd,  in  spite  of  them,  '\^'hat  a 
damp  therefore  must  it  needs  be  upon  him,  to  hear 
talk  of  this  King  being  bom,  now,  when  the  time 
fixed  for  his  appearing  was  come  !  Note,  Carnal, 
wicked  hearts,  dread  nothing  so  much  as  the  fulfil- 
'ing  of  the  scriptures. 


But  though  Herod,  an  Rdomite,  was  troubled, 
one  would  have  thought  Jei-usaltm  should  rejoice 
greatly  to  hear  that  her  King  comes ;  yet,  it  seems, 
all  Jerusalem,  except  the  few  there  that  wailed  for 
the  Consolation  of  Israel,  were  troubled  with  Herod, 
and  were  a])prehensive  of  I  know  not  what  ill  con- 
sequences ot  the  birth  of  this  new  King;  that  it 
would  involve  them  in  war,  or  restrain  tlieir  lusts ; 
they,  for  their  parts,  desired  no  King  but  Herod  ; 
the  Messiah  himself.     Note,  '1  he  slaveiiv 


no,  not  1 


of 


ey 


sin  is  foolishly  preferred  by  many  to  the  glorio 
liberty  of  the  children  of  (iod,  only  because  th 
apprehend  some  present  difficulties  attending  that 
necessary  revolution  of  the  goveniment  in  the  soul. 
Herod  and  Jerusalem  were  thus  troubled,  from  a 
mistaken  notion  that  the  kingdom  of  the  Messiah 
wovdd  clasli  and  intertere  witli  the  secular  jjowers; 
whereas  the  star  that  proclaimed  him  King,  plainly 
intimated  that  his  kingdom  was  heavenly,  and  not 
of  this  lower  world.  Note,  The  reason  why  the 
kings  of  the  earth,  and  the  people,  oppose  the  king- 
dom of  Christ,  is,  because  they  do  not  know  it,  but 
err  concerning  it. 

\"I.     ^^■llat  assistance  they  met  with  in  this  in- 
quiry from  the  scribes  and  the  priests,  v.  A — 6. 
Nobody  can  pretend  to  tell  where  the  King  of  the 
Jews  is,  but  Herod  inquires  where  it  was  expected 
he  should  be  born.     The  persons  he  consults  are, 
the  chief  priests,  who  were  now  teachers  by  office ; 
and  the  scribes,  who  made  it  their  business  to  study 
the  law ;  their  li/is  must  keefi  knowledge,  but  then 
the  people  must  inquire  the  law  at  their  mouth, 
Mai.   2.   7.     It  was  generally  known  that  Christ 
should  be  bom  at  Bethlehem;    (John  7.  42.)    but 
Herod  would  have  counsel's  opinion  upon  it,  and 
therefore  applies  himself  to  the  proper  persons  ; 
and,  that  he  might  be  the  better  satisfied,  he  has 
them  altogether,   all  the  chief  firiests,  and  all  the 
scribes ;  and  demands  of  them  what  was  the  place, 
according  to  the  scriptures  of  the  Old  Testament, 
where  Christ  should  be  born  .'    Many  a  good  ques- 
tion is  put  with  an  iU  design,  so  was  this  by  Herod. 
The  priests  and  scribes  need  not  take  any  long 
time  to  gi\e  an  answer  to  tliis  query ;  nor  do  they 
differ  in  their  opinion,  but  all  agree  that  the  Messiah 
must  be  bom  in  Bethlehem,  the  city  of  Dai'id,  here 
called  Bethlehem  of  Judea,  to  distinguish  it  from 
another  city  of  the  same  name  in  the  land  of  Zcbu- 
lun.  Josh.  19.  15.     Bethlehem  signifies  the  hou.ie  of 
bread ;  the  fittest  place  for  him  to  be  bom  in,  who 
is  the  true  Manna,  the  bread  which  came  down  from 
heaven,  which  was  given  for  the  life  of  the  world. 
The  proof  they  jjroduce  is  taken  from  Mic.  5.  2. 
where  it  is  foretold,  that  though  Bethlehem  be  little 
among  tlie  thousands  of  Judah,  (so  it  is  in  Micah,) 
no  very  populous  place,  yet  it  shall  be  found  not  the 
least  among  the  firinces  of  Judah  ;  (so  it  is  here ;)  for 
Bethlehem's  honour  lay  not,  as  that  of  other  cities, 
in  the  multitude  of  the  peojjle,  but  in  the  magnifi- 
cence of  the  princes  it  produced.     Though,  upon 
some  accounts,  Bethlehem  w-as  little,  yet  herein  it 
had  the  pre-eminence  above  all  the  cities  of  Israel, 
that  the  Lord  shall  count,  when  hewrites  u/i  the  jieo- 
file,  that  this  Man,  even  the  Alan  ./esus  Christ  was 
born   there,   Ps.   87.  6.      Out   of  thee  shall  come  a 
Governor,  the  King  of  the  .Ic.i-s.     Note,  Christ  will 
be  a  Saviour  to  those  only  who  are  willing  to  take 
him  for  their  Governor.     Bethlehem  was  the  city 
of  David,   and  David  the    glory  of   Bethlehem ; 
t"liere,  therefore,  must  Da\id's  Son  and  Successor 
be  born.     There  was  "a  famous  well  at  Bethlehem, 
by  the  gate,   which    David    longed  to  drink  of; 
(2.  Sam.  23.  15.)  in  Christ  we  have  not  onlv  bread 
enough  and  to  spare,  but  may  come  and  take  also  of 
the  water  of  life  freely.     Obsene  here,  how  Jews 
and    Gentiles  compare  notes  about  Jesns  Christ. 
The  Gentiles  know  the  time  of  it  by  a  star  ;  the 


20 


ST.  MATTHEW,  11. 


Jews  knew  the  place  of  it  by  the  scriptures ;  and  so, 
they  are  capable  of  informing  one  another.  Note, 
It  would  contribute  much  to  the  increase  of  know- 
ledge, if  we  did  thus  mutually  communicate  what  we 
know.  Men  gi-ow  rich  by  bartering  and  exchan- 
ging ;  so,  if  we  have  knowledge  to  communicate  to 
others,  they  will  be  ready  to  communicate  to  us; 
thus  many  shall  discourse,  shall  run  to  and  fro, 
and  knowledge  shall  be  increased. 

VII.  The  bloody  project  and  design  of  Herod, 
occasioned  by  this  inquiry,  -v.  7,  8.  Herod  was  now 
an  old  man ;  had  reigned  thirty-five  years ;  this  King 
was  but  newly  born,  and  not  likely  to  enterprise  any 
thing  considerable  for  many  years ;  yet  Herod  is 
jealous  nf  him.  Crowned  heads  cannot  endure  to 
think  of  successors,  much  less  of  rivals ;  and  there- 
fore nothing  less  than  the  blood  of  this  infant  King 
will  satisfy  him  ;  and  he  will  not  give  himself  liberty 
to  think  that,  if  this  new-born  Child  should  be  indeed 
the  Messiah,  in  opposing  him,  or  making  any  at- 
tempts upon  him,  he  would  be  found  ^fighting  against 
God,  than  which  nothing  is  more  vain,  nothing  more 
dangerous.  Passion  has  got  the  mastery  pf  reason 
and  conscience. 

Now,  1.  See  how  cunningly  he  laid  the  project ; 
{y.  7,  8.)  He  privily  called  the  ivise  men,  to  talk 
with  them  about  this  matter.  He  would  not  openly 
own  his  fears  and  jealousies ;  it  would  be  his  disgrace 
to  let  the  wise  men  know  them,  and  dangerous  to 
let  the  people  know  them.  Sinners  are  often  tor- 
mented with  secret  fears,  which  they  keep  to  them- 
selves. Herod  leams  of  the  wise  men  the  time  when 
the  star  ap/ieared,  that  he  might  take  his  measures 
accordingly  ;  and  then  employs  them  to  inquire  fur- 
ther, and  bids  them  bring  him  an  account.  All  this 
might  look  suspicious,  if  he  had  not  covered  it  with 
a  shew  of  religion  ;  that  I  may  come  and  worship 
him  also.  Note,  The  greatest  wickedness  often  con- 
ceals itself  under  a  mask  of  piety.  Absalom  cloaks 
his  rebellious  project  with  a  vow. 

2.  See  how  strangely  he  was  befooled  and  infatu- 
ated in  this,  that  he  tnisted  it  with  the  wise  men, 
and  did  not  choose  some  other  managers,  that  would 
have  been  true  to  his  interests.  It  was  but  seven 
miles  from  Jei-usalem  ;  how  easily  might  he  have 
sent  spies  to  watch  the  wise  men,  who  might  have 
been  as  soon  there  to  destroy  the  Child  as  they  to 
worship  him.  Note,  God  can  hide  from  the  eves 
of  the  church's  enemies  those  methods  by  which 
they  might  easily  destroy  the  church  ;  when  he  in- 
tends to  lead  princes  away  spoiled,  his  way  is  to 
make  the  judges  fools. 

9.  When  they  had  heard  the  king,  they 
departed,  and,  lo,  the  star  which  they  saw 
in  the  east,  went  before  tiiem,  till  it  came 
and  stood  over  where  tlie  j'oimg  child  was. 
10.  When  they  saw  the  star,  they  rejoiced 
with  exceeding  great  joy.  11.  And  when 
they  were  come  into  the  house,  they  saw 
the  young  child  with  Mary  his  mother,  and 
fell  down,  and  worshipped  him :  and  when 
they  had  opened  their  treasures,  they  pre- 
sented unto  him  gifts;  gold,  and  frankin- 
cense, and  myrrh.  12.  And  being  warned 
of  God  in  a  dream  that  they  should  not  re- 
turn to  Herod,  they  departed  into  their  own 
country  another  way.     • 

We  have  here  the  wise  men's  humble  attendance 
upon  this  new-bom  King  of  the  Jews,  and  the  ho- 
nours they  paid  him.  From  Jenisalem  they  went 
to  Bethlehem,  resolving  to  seek  till  they  find  ;  but  it 
is  very  strange  that  they  went  alone  ;  that  not  one 


person  of  the  court,  church,  or  city,  should  accom- 
pany them,  if  not  in  conscience,  yet  in  civility  to 
them,  or  touched  witn  a.  curiosity  to  see  this  young 
Prince.  As  the  queen  oj  the  south,  so  the  wise  men 
of  the  east,  wUl  rise  up  in  judgment  against  the  men 
of  that  generation,  and  of  this  too,  and  will  condemn 
them  ;  for  they  came  from  afar  country,  to  worship 
Christ;  while  the  Jews,  his  kinsmen,  would  not  stir 
a  step,  would  not  go  to  the  next  town  to  bid  him 
welcome.  It  might  have  been  a  discouragement  to 
these  wise  men,  to  find  him  whom  they  sought,  thus 
neglected  at  home.  Are  we  come  so  far,  to  honour 
the  King  of  the  Jews,  and  do  the  Jews  themselves 
put  such  a  slight  upon  him  and  us  ?  Yet  they  persist 
in  their  resolution.  Note,  We  must  continue  our 
attendances  upon  Christ,  though  we  be  alone  in 
them  ;  whatever  others  do,  we  must  sen'C  the  Lord; 
if  they  will  not  go  to  heaven  with  us,  yet  we  must 
not  go  to  hell  with  them.     Now, 

I.  See  how  they  found  out  Christ  by  the  same 
star  that  they  had  seen  in  their  own  country,  v.  9, 
10.  Observe,!.  How  graciously  God  directed  them. 
By  the  first  appearance  of  the  star  they  were  given 
to  understand  where  they  might  inquire  for  this 
King,  and  then  it  disappeared,  and  they  were  left 
to  take  the  usual  methods  for  such  an  enquir)'. 
Note,  Extraordinary  helps  are  not  to  be  expected 
where  ordinaiy  means  are  to  be  had.     Well,  they 
had  traced  the  matter  as  far  as  they  could ;  they 
were  upon  their  journey  to  Bethlehem,  but  that  is  a 
populous  town,  where  shall  they  find  him  when  they 
come  thither  ?  Here  they  were  at  a  loss,  at  their 
wit's  end,  but  not  at  their  faith's  end ;  they  believed 
that  God,  who  had  brought  them  thither  by  his 
word,  would  not  leave  them  there  ;  nor  did  he  ;  for 
behold,  the  star  which  they  saw  in  the  east  went  be- 
fore them.     Note,  If  we  go  on  as  far  as  we  can  in"i 
the  way  of  our  duty,  God  will  direct  and  enable  us  J 
to  do  that  which  of  ourselves  we  cannot  do  ;  Up, 
and  be  doing,  and  the  Lord  will  be  with  thee.     Vigi- 
lantibus,  7ion  dormientibus,  succitrrit  lex — TTie  law 
affords  its  aid,  not  to  the  idle,  but  to  the  actri'e.  The 
star  had  left  them  a  great  while,  yet  now  returns. 
They  who  follow  (iod  in  the  dark  shall  find  that 
light  is  sown,  is  resened,  for  them.     Israel  was  led 
by  a  pillai-  of  fire  to  the  promised  land,  the  wise 
men  bv  a  star  to  the  promised  Seed,  who  is  himself 
the  bright  and  Morning  Star,  Rev.  22.  16.     God 
would  rather  create  a  nenv  thinf,  than  leave  these  at 
a  loss  who  diligently  and  faithfully  sought  him. 
This  star  was  the  token  of  God's  presence  with 
them  ;  for  he  is  Light,  and  goes  before  his  people  as 
their  Guide.     Note,  If  we  by  faith  eve  God  in  ali\ 
our  ways,  we  may  see  ourselves  under  his  conduct ;  ' 
he  guides  with  his  eye,  (Ps.  32.  8. )  and  saith  to  them, 
This  is  the  way,  walk  in  it :  and  there  is  a  day-star  i 
that  arises  in  the  hearts  of  those  that  inquire  after   ) 
Christ,  2  Pet.  1.  19.     2.  Obsene  how  joyfully  they  J 
followed  God's  direction;  (t.  10.)   JI7ien  Ihey  saie 
the  star,  they  rejoiced  witli  exceeding  great  joy. 
Now  thev  saw  they  were  not  deceived,  and  had  not 
taken  this  long  journey  in  vain.      When  the  desire 
comes,  it  is  a  tree  of  life.     Now  they  were  sure  that 
God  was  with  them,  and  the  tokens  of  his  presence 
and  favour  cannot  but  fill  with  joy  unspeakable  the 
souls  of  those  that  know  how  to  value  them.     Now 
they  could  laugh  at  the  Jews  in  Jerusalem,  who, 
probably,  had  laughed  at  them  as  coming  on  a  fool's 
eiTand.     The  watchmen  can  give  the  spouse  no 
tidings  of  her  beloved  ;  yet  it  is  but  a  little  that  she 
passes  from  them,  and  she  finds  him.  Cant.  3.  3,  4. 
We  cannot  expect  too  little  from  man,  nor  too  much 
from  God.    Wliat  a  transport  of  joy  these  wise  men 
were  in,  upon  this  sight  of  the  star,  none  know  so 
well  as  those  who,  after  a  long  and  melancholy  night 
of  temptation  and  desertion,  under  the  power  of  a 
spirit  of  bondage,  at  length  receive  the  spirit  ofadoft- 


in^ 
is) 


ST.  MATTHEW,  II 


21 


tk  n,  •mitncssinff  with  their  sfiirits  that  they  are  the 
children  of  God  ;  this  is  liglit  out  of  chu-kncss,  it  is 
life  from  the  dead.  Now  they  had  reason  to  hope 
for  a  siglit  of  the  Lord'n  Christ  speedily,  of  the  Sun 
of  righteousneiss,  for  the\-  see  the  Alornitig  Star. 
Note,  We  should  be  glad  of  every  thing  that  will 
shew  us  the  way  to  Christ.  This  star  was  sent  to 
meet  the  wise  men,  and  to  conduct  them  into  the 
presence-chamber  of  the  King  ;  by  this  master  of 
the  ceremonies  they  were  introduced,  to  liave  their 
audience.  Now  Ciod  fulfils  his  promise  of  meeting 
those  that  are  disposed  to  rejoice,  and  work  righ- 
tcousnens,  (ls;u  04.  5.)  and  the\'  fulfil  his  precept. 
/.(■;  the  hearts  of  those  rejoice  that  seek  the  J.ord, 
Vs.  105.  3.  Note,  (iod  is  pleased  sometimes  to  fa- 
vour young  converts  with  such  tokens  of  his  love  as 
are  very  encouraging  to  them,  in  reference  to  the 
difficulties  the)-  meet  with  at  their  setting  out  in  the 
•ways  of  (jod. 

II.  See  how  they  made  their  address  to  him  when 
they  had  found  him,  t.  11.  We  may  well  imagine 
then-  expectations  were  raised  to  find  this  royal 
I'.abe,  though  slighted  b\'  the  nation,  yet  honourablv 
attended  at  home ;  and  what  a  disappointment  it 
was  to  them,  when  they  found  a  cottage  was  his 
palace,  and  his  own  poor  mother  all  the  retinue  he 
had  !  Is  this  the  Saviour  of  the  world  ?  Is  this  the 
King  of  the  Jews,  nay,  and  tlie  I'rince  of  the  kings 
of  the  earth  ?  Yes,  this  is  he,  who,  though  he  was 
rich,  \ei,  for  our  sokes,  became  thus  floor.  How- 
ever, these  wise  men  were  so  wise  as  to  see  through 
this  veil,  and  in  this  despised  Babe  to  discern  the 
glory  as  of  the  Only-begotten  of  the  Father ;  they 
did  not  think  themsehes  balked  or  bafllcd  in  their 
inquiiy ;  but,  as  having  found  the  King  they  sought, 
thev  presented  themselves  first,  and  then  their  gifts, 
to  him. 

1.  They  presented  themsehes  to  him  ;  they  fell 
down,  and  wor.<ihififled  him.  W'c  do  not  read  tnat 
they  gave  such  honour  to  Herod,  though  he  was  in 
the'  height  of  his  roj'al  grandeur  ;  but  to  this  Babe 
thev  gave  this  honour,  not  onl\-  as  to  a  King,  (then 
thev  would  have  done  the  same  to  Herod,)  but  as 
to  a  God.  Note,  -■VU  that  ha\e  found  Christ  fall 
down  before  him  ;  they  adore  him,  and  submit  them- 
selves to  him.  He  is  thy  Lord,  and  worshiji  thou 
him.  It  will  be  the  wisdom  of  the  wisest  of  men, 
and  by  this  it  will  appear  they  know  Christ,  and 
undei'stand  themselves  and  their  ti-ue  interests,  if 
they  be  the  humble,  faithful  worshippers  of  the  Lord 
Jesus. 

2.  They  flresented  their  gifts  to  him.  In  the  east- 
cm  nations,  when  they  did  homage  to  their  kings, 
they  made  them  presents  ;  thus  the  subjection  of  the 
kings  of  Sheba  to  Christ  is  spoken  of,  (Ps.  72.  10.) 
They  shall  bring  flresents,  and  offer  gfts.  See  Isa. 
60.  6.  Note,  With  ourselves,  we  must  give  up  all 
that  we  have  to  Jesus  Christ ;  and  iT  we  be  sincere  in 
the  surrender  of  ourselves  to  him,  we  shall  not  be 
unwilling  to  part  with  what  is  dearest  to  us,  and 
most  valuable,  to  him  and  for  him  ;  nor  are  our  gifts 
accepted,  unless  we  first  present  ourselves  to  him 
living  sacrifices.  God  had  resfiect  to  Jlbel,  and  then 
to  his  offering.  The  gifts  they  presented  were,  gold, 
frankincense,  and  myrrh,  money,  and  money's- 
worth.  Pro\'idence  sent  this  for  a  seasonable  relief 
to  Joseph  and  Maiy  in  their  present  poor  condition. 
These  were  the  products  of  their  own  country  ;  what 
God  favours  us  with,  we  must  honour  him  with. 
Some  think  there  was  a  significancy  in  their  gifts  ; 
thev  offered  him  gold,  as  a  King,  paving  him  tribute  ; 
to  Cxsar,  the  things  that  are  Ceesar^s ;  frankincense, 
as  God,  for  they  honoured  God  with  the  smoke  of 
incense  ;  and  myrrh,  as  a  Man  that  should  die,  for 
myrrh  was  used  in  embalming  dead  bodies. 

III.  See  how  they  left  him  when  they  had  made 
their  address  to  him,  v.  12.    Herod  appointed  them 


to  bring  him  word  what  discoveries  they  had  made, 
and,  it  is  probable,  they  would  have  done  so,  if  they 
had  not  been  countermanded,  not  suspecting  their 
being  thus  made  his  tools  in  a  wicked  design.  I'hose 
that  mean  honestly  and  well  themselves  arc  easily 
made  to  believe  that  others  do  so  too,  and  cannot 
think  the  world  is  so  bad  as  really  it  is;  but  the 
Lord  knows  how  to  deliver  the  godly  out  of  temjita- 
tion.  ^^'c  do  not  find  that  the  wise  men  promised 
to  come  back  to  Herod,  and,  if  they  had,  it  must 
have  been  with  the  usual  proviso.  If  God  permit ; 
(iod  did  not  permit  them,  and  ])re\  ented  the  mis- 
chief Herod  designed  to  the  Child  Jesus,  and  the 
trouble  H  would  have  been  to  the  wise  men  to  have 
been  made  involuntarily  accessary  to  it.  The)'  were 
TJunicdofGod,  ;^f»^»T(o-6i»T!t — oraculo  vel  resfloiuo 
accepto—bxi  an  oracular  intimation.  Some  think  that 
it  intimates  that  they  asked  counsel  of  God,  and 
that  this  was  the  answer.  Note,  Those  that  act 
cautiously,  and  are  afraid  of  sin  and  snares,  if  they 
apply  themselves  to  God  for  direction,  may  expect 
to  be  led  in  the  right  way.  They  were  warned  not 
to  return  to  Herod,  or  to  Jeiiisalem  ;  these  were 
imworthv  to  have  reports  brought  them  conceming 
Christ,  that  might  have  seen  with  their  own  eyes, 
and  would  not.  They  departed  into  their  own  coun 
try  another  'H'ay,  to  bring  the  tidings  to  their  coun- 
tn'mcn  ;  but  it  is  strange  that  we  never  hear  any 
m'oi-e  of  them,  and  that  they  or  theirs  did  not  after- 
wards attend  him  in  the  temple,  whom  they  had 
worshipped  in  the  cradle.  However,  the  direction 
they  had  from  God  in  their  return  would  be  a  fur- 
ther confirmation  of  their  faith  in  this  Child,  as  the 
Lord  from  heaven. 

1.3.  And  when  tliey  were  departed,  be- 
hold, the  angel  of  the  Lord  appeared  to 
Joseph  in  a  dream,  sa\ing.  Arise,  and  take 
the  young  child  and  his  mother,  and  flee 
into  Eg>'pt,  and  be  thou  there  until  I  bring 
thee  word :  for  Herod  will  seek  the  young 
child  to  destroy  him.  14.  AVhen  he  arose, 
he  took  the  young  child  and  his  mother  by 
night,  and  departed  into  Egj^Dt ;  1 5.  And 
was  there  until  the  death  of  Herod :  that  it 
might  be  fulfilled  which  was  spoken  of  the 
Lord  by  the  prophet,  saj^ing,  Out  of  Egypt 
have  I  called  my  son. 

We  have  here  Christ's  flight  into  Egypt,  to  avoid 
the  ci-ucltv  of  Herod,  which  was  the  effect  of  the 
wise  men's  inquiiy  after  him  ;  for,  before  that,  the 
obscurity  he  lav  in  was  his  protection.  It  was  but 
little  respect  (compared  with  what  should  have 
been)  that  was  paid  to  Christ  in  his  infancy  ;  yet 
even  that,  instead  of  honouring  him  among  his  peo- 
ple, did  but  expose  him. 

Now  here  observe, 

I.  The  command  given  to  Joseph  conceming  it, 
II.  13.  Joseph  knew  neither  the  danger  the  Child 
was  in,  nor  how  to  escape  it ;  but  God,  by  an  angel, 
tells  him  both  in  a  dream,  as  before  he  dn-ected  him 
in  like  manner  what  to  do,  ch.  1.  20.  Joseph,  be- 
fore his  alliance  to  Christ,  had  not  been  wont  to 
converse  with  angels  as  now.  Note,  Those  that  are 
spiritually  related  to  Christ  by  faith,  have  that  com- 
munion and  con-espondence  with  Heaven,  which 
before  they  were  strangers  to. 

1.  Joseph  is  here  .told  what  their  danger  was ; 
Herod  will  seek  the  young  Child  to  destroy  him. 
Note,  God  is  acquainted  with  all  the  cniel  projects 
and  purposes  of  the  enemies  of  his  church.  I  know 
thy  rage  against  me,  saith  God  to  Sennacherib,  Isa. 
37.  28.  How  early  was  the  blessed  Jesus  involved 
in  trouble  !  Usually,  even  those  whose  riper  years 


ST.  MATTHEW ,  II. 


are  attended  with  toils  and  perils  have  a  peaceable 
and  quiet  infancy ;  but  it  was  not  so  with  the  blessed 
Jesus :  his  life  and  sufFei-ings  began  together ;  he 
was  bom  a  Man  striven  -with,  as  Jeremiah  was, 
(Jer.  15.  10.)  who  was  sanctified  from  the  womb, 
Jer.  1.  5.  Both  Christ  the  Head,  ajid  the  church 
his  body,  agi-ee  in  saying.  Many  a  time  have  they 
afflicted  me,  from  my  youth  up.  Pharaoh's  ci-uelty 
fastens  upon  the  Hebrews'  children,  and  the  great 
red  dragon  stands  ready  to  devour  the  man-child  as 
soon  as  it  should  be  born.  Rev.  12.  4. 

2.  He  is  directed  what  to  do,  to  escape  the  dan- 
ger; Take  the  young  Child,  and  Jice  into  £gypt. 
Thus  eariy  must  Christ  give  an  example  tp  his  own 
rule;  {ch.  10.  23.)  When  they  persecute  you  in  one 
city,  fee  to  another.  He  that  came  to  die  for  us, 
when  his  hour  was  not  yet  come,  fled  for  his  own 
safety.  Self-preservation,  being  a  branch  of  the  law 
of  nature,  is  eminently  a  part  of  the  law  of  God 
Flee;  but  why  into  Egvjit?  Egj-pt  was  infamous 
for  idolatry,  tyranny,  and  enmity  to  the  people  of 
God  ;  It  had  been  a  house  of  bondage  to  Israel,  and 
particularly  cruel  to  the  infants  of  Israel ;  in  Egvpt, 
as  much  as  in  Ramah,  Rachel  had  been  weeping  for 
her  children  ;  yet  that  is  appointed  to  be  a  place  of 
refuge  to  the  holy  Child  Jesus.  Note,  God,  when 
he  pleases,  can  make  the  worst  of  places  serve  the 
best  of  purposes ;  for  the  earth  is  the  Lord's,  he 
makes  what  use  he  pleases  of  it :  sometimes  the 
earth  helps  the  woman,  Rev.  12.  26.  God,  who 
made  Moab  a  shelter  to  his  outcasts,  makes  Egv'pt 
a  refuge  for  his  Son.     This  mav  be  considered, 

(1.)  As  a  trial  of  the  faith  of  Joseph  and  Mar\-. 
Thev  might  be  tempted  to  think,  "  if  this  Child  be 
the  Son  of  God,  as  we  are  told  he  is,  has  he  no  other 
way  to  secure  himself  from  a  man  that  is  a  worm, 
tlian  by  such  a  mean  and  inglorious  retreat  as  this  ? 
Cannot  he  summon  legions  of  angels  to  be  his  life- 
guard, or  cherubims  with  flaming  swords  to  keep 
this  tree  of  life  ?  Cannot  he  strike  Herod  dead,  or 
wither  the  hand  that  is  stretched  out  against  him, 
and  so  save  us  the  trouble  of  this  remo\-e  >"  Thev 
had  been  lately  told  that  he  should  be  the  Glory  of 
his  people  Israel ;  and  is  the  land  of  Israel  so  soon 
become  too  hot  for  him  ?  But  we  find  not  that  thev 
made  any  such  objections ;  their  faith,  being  tried, 
was  found  firm,  and  they  believe  this  is  the  son  of 
God,  though  they  see  no  miracle  wrought  for  his 
presen-ation  ;  but  thev  are  put  to  the  use  of  ordina- 
ry means.  Joseph  had  gi-eat  honour  put  upon  him 
m  being  the  husband  of  the  blessed  Virgin ;  but  that 
honour  has  trouble  attending  it,  as  all  honours  have 
m  this  world;  Joseph  must  take  the  youne-  Child 
and  cany  him  into  Egv/it ;  and  now  it  appeared 
how  well  God  had  provided  iovthe  youn^  Child  and 
his  mother,  m  appointing  Joseph  to'stani  in  so  near 
a  relation  to  them ;  now  the  gold  which  the  wise 
men  brought  would  stand  them  in  stead  to  bear  their 
charges.  God  foresees  his  ])eopIe's  distresses,  and 
provides  against  them  beforehand.  God  intimates 
the  continuance  of  his  care  and  guidance,  when  he 
said.  Be  thou  there  uyitil  I  bring  thee  word  ;  so  that 
he  must  expect  to  hear  from  God  again,  and  not 
stir  without  fresh  orders.  Thus  God 'will  keep  his 
people  still  in  a  dependence  upon  him. 

(2.)  As  an  instance  of  the  humiliation  of  our  Lord 
Jesus.  As  there  was  no  room  for  him  in  the  inn  at 
Bethlehem,  so  there  was  no  quiet  room  for  him  in 
the  land  of  Judea.  Thus  was  he  banished  from  the 
earthlv  Canaan,  that  we,  who  for  sin  were  banished 
irom  the  heavenly  Canaan,  might  not  be  for  ever 
expelled.  If  we  and  our  infants  be  at  any  time  in 
straits,  let  us  remember  the  straits  Christ'in  his  in- 
/o\'*T^  °™"Sht  into,  and  be  reconciled  to  them. 
(3.)  As  a  token  of  God's  displeasure  against  the 
Jews,  who  took  so  little  notice  of  him  ;  justlv  does 
ne  leave  those  who  had  slighted  him.    We  see  also 


here  an  earnest  of  his  favour  to  the  Gentiles,  to 
whom  the  apostles  were  to  bring  the  gospel  when 
the  Jews  rejected  it.  If  Eg^'pt  entertain  Christ 
when  he  is  forced  out  of  Judea,  it  will  not  be  long 
ere  it  be  said.  Blessed  be  Egypt  my  people,  Isa. 

II.  Joseph's  obedience  to  this  command,  v.  14, 
The  journey  would  be  inconvenient  and  perilous 
both  to  the  young  Child  and  to  his  mother ;  they 
were  but  poorly  provided  for  it,  and  were  likelv  to 
meet  with  cold  entertainment  in  Egjpt :  yet  Joseph 
was  not  disobedient  to  the  heavenly  vision,  made  no 
objection,  nor  was  dilatory  in  his  obedience.  As 
soon  as  he  had  received  his  orders,  he  immediately 
arose,  and  went  away  by  night,  the  same  night,  as 
It  should  seem,  that  he  received  the  orders.  Note, 
Those  that  would  make  sure  work  of  their  obedi- 
ence, must  make  quick  work  of  it.  Now  Joseph 
went  out,  as  his  father  Abraham  did,  with  an  impli- 
cit dependence  upon  God,  not  knowing  whither  he 
went,^  Heb.  11.  8.  Joseph  and  his  wifchaving  little, 
had  little  to  take  care  ot  in  this  remove.  And  abun- 
dance encumbers  a  necessary  flight.  If  rich  people 
have  the  advantage  of  the  poor  while  thev  possess 
what  they  have,  the  poor  ha\e  the  advantage  of  the 
rich  when  they  are  called  to  part  with  it. 

Joseph  took  the  young  Child  and  his  mother. 
Some  obsen-e,  that  'the  young  Child  is  put  first,  as 
the  principal  Person,  and  Mary  is  called,  not  the 
wife  of  Joseph,  but,  which  was  her  greater  dignity, 
the  mother  of  the  youn^^  Child.  This  was  not  the 
first  Joseph  that  was  driven  from  Canaan  to  Eg^Tit 
for  a  shelter  from  the  anger  of  his  brethren ;  this 
Joseph  ought  to  be  welcome  there  for  the  sake  of 
that. 

If  we  may  credit  tradition,  at  their  entrance  into 
Egypt  happening  to  go  into  a  temple,  aU  the  ima- 
ges of  their  gods  were  overthrown  by  an  invisible 
power,  and  fell,  like  Dagon  before  the  ark,  accor- 
ding to  that  prophecy.  The  Lord  shall  come  into 
Egypt,  and  the  idols  of  Egijpt  shall  be  moved  at  his 
presence,  Isa.  19.  1.  They  continued  in  Eg)-pt  tiU 
the  death  of  Herod,  which,  some  think,  was  seven 
years,  others  think,  not  so  many  months.  There 
they  were  at  a  distance  from  the  temple  and  the 
ser\ice  of  it,  and  in  the  midst  of  idolaters ;  but  God 
sent  them  thither,  and  will  have  mercy,  and  not 
sacrifice.  Though  they  were  far  from  the  temple 
of  the  Lord,  they  had  with  them  the  Lord  of  the 
temple.  A  forced  absence  from  God's  ordinances, 
and  a  forced  presence  with  wicked  people,  may  be 
the  lot,  are  not  the  sin,  yet  cannot  but  be  the  grief, 
of  good  people. 

III.  The  fulfilling  of  the  scripture  in  all  this 

that  scripture,  (Hos.  11.  1.)  Out  of  Egijpt  have  I 
called  my  son.  Of  all  the  evangelists;  Matthew 
takes  most  notice  of  the  fulfilling  of  the  scripture 
in  what  concerned  Christ,  because  his  gospel  was 
first  published  among  the  Jews,  with  whom  that 
would  add  much  strength  and  lustre  to  it.  Now 
this  word  of  the  prophet  undoubtedly  referred  to 
the  delivei-ance  of  Israel  out  of  Eg\^5t,  in  which 
God  owned  them  for  his  son,  his  firs't-boi-n  ;  (Exod. 
4.  22.)  but  it  is  here  applied,  by  way  of  analog^-,  tc 
Christ,  the  Head  of  the  church.  Note,  the  scrip- 
ture has  many  accomplishments,  so  full  and  copious 
is  it,  and  so  well  ordered  in  all  things !  God  is 
every  day  ftilfilling  the  scripture.  Scripture  is  not 
of  pnvate  interpretation,  we  must  give  it  its  full 
latitude.  "  men  Israel  was  a  child,  then  I  loved 
him  ;  and  though  I  loved  him,  I  suffered  him  to  be 
a  great  while  in  Eg^'pt  ;  but  because  /  loved  him, 
in  due  time  I  called  him  out  of  Egvpt.  They  that 
read  this,  must,  in  their  thoughts,  not  only  look 
back,  but  look  forivard ;  that  which  has  been  shall 
be  again;  (Eccl.  1.  9.)  and  the  manner  of  expres- 
sion mtimates  this ;  for  it  is  not  said,  I  called  him 


ST.  MATTHEW,  II. 


23 


but,  I  called  my  son,  out  of  Eg^^Jt.  Note,  It  is  no 
new  thing  for  God's  sons  to  be  in  Egypt,  in  a 
strange  land,  in  a  house  of  bondage ;  but  they 
shall  be  fetched  out.  They  may  be  hid  in  Egypt, 
but  they  sh;Jl  not  be  left  there.  All  the  elect  of 
(Jod,  being  b\-  nature  cliildrcn  of  wi-ath,  are  bom 
in  a  s])iritual  £g\pt,  and  in  con\ crsion  are  effectu- 
ally c;dled  out.  It  might  be  ol^ected  against  Christ, 
that  he  had  been  in  Egypt.  Must  l/ie  nun  of  Higlil- 
cousnrr.s  arise  out  of  that  land  of  darkness?  But 
this  shews  that  to  be  no  such  strange  thing :  Israel 
was  brought  out  of  I'-gypt,  to  be  advanced  to  the 
highest  honours ;  and  tliis  is  but  the  doing  the  same 
tlung  again. 

16  Then  Herod,  when  he  saw  that  he 
was  mocked  of  the  wise  men,  was  excced- 
iii";  wroth,  and  sent  Ibrtli,  and  slew  all  tlie 
children  that  were  in  ]5etiilehem,  and  in 
all  the  coasts  tliereof,  from  two  years  old 
and  under,  according  to  the  time  which  he  i 
had  diligently  inquired  of  the  wise  men. 

17.  Then  was  fulfilled  that  which  was 
spoken   by  Jeremy  the    prophet,   saying, 

1 8.  In  Rama  there  was  a  voice  heard,  la- 
mentation, and  weeping,  and  great  mourn- 
ing, Rachel  weeping  for  her  children,  and 
would  not  be  comforted,  because  they  are 
not. 

Here  is,  I.  Herod's  resentment  of  the  departure  I 
of  the  wise  men.  He  waited  long  for  their  return ; 
he  hopes  though  they  be  slow,  they  will  be  sure,  j 
and  he  shall  crush  his  Rival  at  his  hi-st  appearing  ; 
but  he  hears,  upon  enquin",  that  they  are  gone  off 
another  way,  which  mcreases  his  jealousy,  and 
makes  him  suspect  they  are  in  the  interest  of  this 
new  King,  which  made  him  exceeding  ivroth  ;  and 
he  is  the  more  desperate  and  outrageous  for  his 
being  disappointed.  Note,  Inveterate  corruption 
swells  the  higher  for  the  obstructions  it  meets  with 
in  a  sinful  pursuit 

II.  His  politic  contrivance,  notwithstanding  this, 
to  take  off  him  that  is  born  king-  of  the  Jews.  If  he 
could  not  reach  him  by  a  particular  execution,  he 
doubted  not  but  to  involve  him  in  a  general  stroke, 
which,  like  the  sword  of  war,  should  dei'our  one  as 
well  as  another.  This  would  be  sure  work  ;  and  thus 
those  that  would  destroy  their  ovjn  iniquity,  must 
be  sure  to  destroy  all  their  iniquities.  Herod  was 
an  Edomite,  enmity  to  Israel  was  bred  in  the  bone 
with  him.  Doeg  was  an  Edomite,  who,  for  David's 
sake,  sleiu  all  the  priests  of  the  Lord.  It  was 
strange  that  Herod  could  find  an\-  so  inhuman  as  to 
be  employed  in  such  a  bloody  and  barbarous  piece 
of  work  ;  but  wicked  hands  never  want  wicked 
tools  to  work  with.  Little  children  have  always 
iccn  taken  under  the  special  protection,  not  only  of 
numan  laws,  but  of  human  nature  ;  yet  these  are 
sacrificed  to  the  rage  of  this  tyrant,  under  whom, 
as  under  Nero,  innocence  is  the  least  security. 
Herod  was,  throughout  his  reign,  a  bloody  maii ;  [ 
it  was  not  long  before,  that  he  destroyed  the  whole 
Sanhedrim,  or  bench  of  judges ;  but  blood  to  the 
blood-thirsty  is  like  drink  to  those  in  a  dropsy  ; 
Quo  plus  sunt pota, plus  sitiuntur  aqu£ — The  more 
they  drink,  the  more  thirsty  they  become.  Herod 
was  now  about  seventy  years  old,  so  that  an  infant,  ' 
at  this  time  under  tnvo  years  old,  was  not  likely  ever 
to  give  him  any  disturbance.  Nor  was  he  a  man 
over  fond  of  his  own  children,  or  of  their  preferment,  I 
having  foi-merly  slain  two  of  his  own  sons,  Alexan- 
der and  .\ristqbulus,  and  his  son  .\ntipater  after  this, 
but  five  days  before  he  himself  died  ;  so  that  it  wa.s  [ 


purely  to  gratify  bis  own  brutish  lusts  of  pride  and 
cruelty  that  he  did  this.  All  is  fish  that  comes  to 
his  net. 

Obseixe  what  large  measures  he  took,  1.  As  to 
time  ;  He  slew  all  from  tivo  years  old  and  under. 
It  is  probable  that  the  blessed  Jesus  was  at  this  time 
not  a  year  old ;  yet  Herod  took  in  all  the  infants 
under  tii'o  years  old,  that  he  might  be  sure  not  to 
miss  of  his  prey.  He  cares  not  how  many  heads 
fall,  whic'h  he  allows  to  be  innocent,  provided  that 
escai)e  not  whuh  he  supposes  to  be  guilty.  2.  As 
to  place  ;  He  kills  all  tlie  male  children,  not  only  m 
Bethlehetn,  but  in  all  the  coasts  thereof,  in  all  the 
villages  of  that  city.  This  was  l)eing  overmuch 
ivicked,  (Eccl.  7.  17.)  Note,  An  unbridled  wrath, 
armed  with  an  unlawful  power,  often  transports 
men  to  the  most  absurd  and  unreusonalile  instances 
of  cruelty.  It  was  no  unrighteous  thing  with  God 
to  permit  this ;  every  life  is  forfeited  to  his  justice 
as  soon  as  it  commences;  that  sin  which  entered  by 
one  man's  disobedience,  introduced  death  with  it'; 
and  we  are  not  to  suppose  any  thing  more  than  that 
common  guilt,  we  are  not  to  suppose  'hat  these  chil- 
dren ntx^e  sinners  above  all  that  were  m  Israel,  be- 
cause they  suffered  such  things.  God's  judgments 
are  a  great  deefi.  The  diseases  and  deaths  of  little 
children  are  proofs  of  original  sin.  But  we  must 
look  upon  this  murder  of  the  infants  under  another 
character :  it  was  their  martyrdom.  How  early  did 
persecution  commence  against  Christ  and  his  king- 
dom !  Think  ye  that  he  came  to  send  peace  on  the 
earth?  No,  but  a  sword,  such  a  sword  as  this,  ch. 
10.  34,  35.  A  passive  testimony  was  hereby  given 
to  the  Lord  Jesus.  As  when  he  was  in  tlie  womb, 
he  was  witnessed  to  by  a  child's  leaping  in  the  womb 
for  joy  at  his  approach,  so  now,  at  fn'O  years  old,  he 
had  contemporaiy  witnesses  to  him  of  the  same  age. 
The\-  shed  their  blood  for  him,  who  afterwards  shed 
his  for  them.  These  were  the  infantry  of  the  noble 
army  of  martyrs.  If  these  infants  were  thus  bap- 
tized with  blood,  though  it  were  their  own,  into  the 
church  triumphant,  it  could  not  be  said  but  that, 
with  what  thev  got  in  heaven,  they  were  abundant- 
ly recompensed  for  what  they  lost  on  earth.  Out 
of  the  mouths  of  these  babes  and  sucklings  God  did 
perfect  praise  ;  otherwise,  it  is  7iot  good  to  the  yll- 
mighty  that  he  should  thus  afflict. 

The  tradition  of  the  Greek  church,  (and  we  have 
it  in  the  .'Ethiopic  missal,)  is,  that  the  number  of 
the  children  slain  was  14,000;  but  that  is  very  ab- 
surd. I  believe,  if  the  births  of  the  male  children 
in  the  weekh-  bills  were  computed,  there  v\ould  not 
be  found  so  many  under  two  years  old,  in  one  of  the 
most  populous  cities  in  the  world,  much  less  in 
Bethlehem,  a  small  town,  that  was  not  near  a  forti- 
eth part  of  it.  But  it  is  an  instance  of  the  vanity  of 
tradition.  It  is  strange  that  Josephus  does  not're 
late  this  storv  ;  but  he  wrote  long  alter  St.  Matthew, 
and  it  is  probable  that  he  therefore  would  not  relate 
it,  because  he  would  not  so  far  countenance  the 
christian  historv,  for  he  was  a  zealous  Jew  ;  but,  to 
be  sure,  if  it  had  not  been  true  and  well  attested,  he 
would  have  contested  it.  Macrobius,  a  heathen 
writer,  tells  us,  that  when  Augustus  Cxsar  heard 
that  Herod,  among  the  children  he  ordered  to  be 
slain  under  two  years  old,  slew  his  own  son,  he 
passed  this  jest  upon  him.  That  it  was  better  to  be 
Herod's  swine  than  his  son.  The  usage  of  the  coun- 
ti-v  forbade  him  to  kill  a  swine,  but  nothing  could 
restrain  him  from  killing  his  son.  Some  think  that 
he  had  a  voung  child  at  nurse  in  Bethlehem  ;  others 
think  that,  through  mistake,  two  events  are  con 
founded — the  murder  of  the  infants,  and  the  murder 
of  his  son  Antipater.  But  for  the  church  of  Rome 
to  put  the  Holy  Innocents,  as  they  call  them,  into 
their  calendar,  and  obser\'e  a  day  in  memory  of 
them,  while  they  have  so  often,  by  their  barbarous 


24 


ST.  MATTHEW,  II. 


massacres,  justified,  and  even  out-done  Herod,  ij 
but  to  do  as  their  predecessors  did,  wlio  built  tVie 
tombs  of  tlie  propliets,  while  they  themselves  filled 
up  the  same  measure. 

Some  obsen'e  another  design  of  Providence  in  the 
murder  of  the  infants.  By  all  the  prophecies  of  the 
Old  Testament  it  appears  that  Bethlehem  was  the 
place,  and  this  the  time,  of  the  Messiah's  nativity ; 
now  all  the  children  of  Bethlehem,  born  at  this 
time,  being  murdered,  and  Jesus  only  escaping,  none 
but  Jesus  could  pretend  to  be  the  Messiah.  Herod 
now  thought  he  had  baffled  all  the  Old-Testament 
prophecies,  had  defeated  the  indications  of  the  star, 
and  the  devotions  of  the  wise  men,  by  ridding  the 
country  of  this  new  King ;  ha\ang  burnt  the  hive,  he 
concludes  he  had  killed  the  master  bee ;  but  God  in 
heaven  laughs  at  him,  and  has  him  m  derision. 
Wliatevcr  crafty  cruel  devices  are  in  men's  hearts, 
the  counsel  of  the  Lord  shall  stand. 

III.  The  fulfilling  of  the  scripture  in  this ;  iy.  17, 
18.)  Then  ivas fulfilled  \.\\».t\->ro-p\\i:Q.y,  (Jer.  31.  15.) 
A  voice  was  heard  in  Bamah.  See  and  adore  the 
fulness  of  the  scripture  !  That  prediction  was  ac- 
complished in  Jeremiah's  time,  when  Nebuzaradan, 
after  he  had  destroyed  Jenisalem,  brought  all  his 
prisoners  to  Kamah,  (Jer.  40.  1.)  and  there  disposed 
of  them  as  he  pleased,  for  the  sword,  or  for  cap- 
tivity. Then  was  the  cry  in  Kamah  heard  to  Beth- 
lehem ;  (for  those  two  cities,  the  one  in  Judah's  lot, 
and  the  other  in  Benjamin's,  were  not  far  asunder ;) 
but  now  the  prophecy  is  again  fulfilled  in  the  great 
sorrow  that  was  for  the  death  of  these  infants.  "The 
scripture  was  fulfilled, 

1.  In  the  place  of  this  mourning.  The  noise  of  it 
was  heard  from  Bethlehem  to  Ramah  ;  for  Herod's 
cruelty  extended  itself  to  all  the  coasts  of  Bethlehejn, 
"ven  into  the  lot  of  Benjamin,  among  the  children 
•if  Rachel.  Some  think  the  country  about  Bethle- 
hem was  called  Rachel,  because  there  she  died,  and 
'vas  buried.  Rachel's  sepulchre  was  hard  bv  Beth- 
lehem, Gen.  35.  16,  19.  Compare  1  Sam.'  10.  2. 
Rachel  had  her  heart  much  set  upon  children  ;  the 
son  she  died  in  tra\ail  of,  she  called  Benoni — the 
son  of  her  sorrow.  These  mothers  were  like  Ra- 
chel, lived  near  Rachel's  gi-ave,  and  manv  of  them 
descended  from  Rachel ;  and  therefore  their  lamen- 
tations are  elegantly  represented  by  Rachel's  weefi- 
ing. 

2.  In  the  degree  of  this  mourning.  It  was  lamen- 
tation and  weeping,  and  great  ?nourning;  all  little 
enough  to  express  the  sense  they  had  of  this  aggi-a- 
vated  calamity.  There  was  a  'gi-eat  cry  in  Eg>-pt 
when  the  first-bom  were  slain,  and  so  there  was 
here  when  the  youngest  was  slain ;  for  whom  we 
naturally  have  a'particular  tenderness.  Here  was 
a  representation  of  this  world  we  li\-e  in.  ^^■e  hear 
in  it  lamentation,  and  weeping,  and  mourning,  and 
see  the  tears  of  the  ofifircssed,  some  upon  one  ac- 
count, and  some  upon  another.  Our  wav  lies  through 
a  -vale  of  tears.  This  sorrow  was  so  great,  that  the\' 
viould 'not  be  comforted.  They  hardened  them- 
selves in  it,  and  took  a  pleasure  in  their  giief.  Bless- 
ed be  God,  there  is  no  occasion  of  gi-ief  in  this  world, 
no,  not  that  which  is  supplied  bv  sin  itself,  that  will 
justify  us  in  refusing  to  be  comforted!  They  would 
not  be  comforted,  because  they  are  not,  that' is,  thev 
are  not  in  the  land  of  the  living,  are  not  as  they 
were,  in  their  mothers'  embraces.  If,  indeed,  theu 
were  not,  there  might  be  some  excuse  for  sorrow'- 
ing  as  though  we  had  no  hope  ;  but  we  know  thev 
are  not  lost,  but  gone  before  ;  if  we  forget  that  they 
are,  we  lose  the  best  ground  of  our  comfort,  1  Thess. 
4.  \%.  Some  make  this  great  grief  of  the  Bethle- 
hemites  to  be  a  judgment  upon  them  for  their  con- 
tempt of  Christ.  They  that  would  not  rejoice  for 
the  birth  of  the  Son  of  God,  are  justly  made  to  weep 
for  the  death  of  their  o\vw  sons ;  for  they  only  won-  \ 


dered  at  the  tidings  the  shepherds  brought  them, 
but  did  not  welcome  them. 

The  quoting  of  this  prophecy  might  serve  to  ob- 
viate an  objection  which  some  would  make  against 
Christ,  upon  this  sad  providence.  "  Can  the  Mes- 
siah, who  is  to  be  the  Consolation  of  Israel,  be  in- 
troduced with  all  that  lamentation  f"  '\'es,  for  so  it 
was  foretold,  and  the  scripture  must  be  accomplish- 
ed. And  besides,  if  we  look  fuilher  into  this  pro- 
phecy, we  shall  find  that  the  bitter  weeping  in  Ramah 
was  but  a  prologue  to  the  gi-eatest  joy,  for  it  follows. 
Thy  work  shall  be  rewarded,  and  there  is  hope  in 
thy  end.  The  worse  things  are,  the  sooner  they 
wiU  mend.  Unto  them  a  Child  was  bom,  sufficient 
to  repair  their  losses. 

1 9.  But  when  Herod  was  dead,  behold, 
"an  angel  of  the  Lord  appeareth  in  a  dream 
to  Joseph  in  Egypt,  20.  Saying,  Arise, 
and  take  the  young  child  and  his  mother, 
and  go  into  the  land  of  Israel :  for  they  are 
dead  which  sought  the  young  child's  life. 
21.  And  he  arose,  and  took  the  young  child 
and  his  mother,  and  came  into  the  land  of 
Israel.  22.  But  when  he  heard  that  Ar- 
chelaus  did  reign  in  Judea  in  the  room  of 
his  father  Herod,  he  was  afraid  to  go  thi- 
ther :  notwithstanding,  being  warned  of 
God  in  a  dream,  he  turned  aside  into  the 
parts  of  Galilee :  23.  And  he  came  and 
dwelt  in  a  city  called  N^azareth ;  that  it 
might  be  fulfilled  \\  hich  was  spoken  by  the 
prophets.  He  shall  be  called  a  Nazarene. 

We  have  here  Christ's  return  out  of  Eg)pt  into 
the  land  of  Israel  again.  Egj'pt  may  serve  to  so- 
jouni  in,  or  take  shelter  in,  for  a  while,  but  not  to 
abide  in.  Christ  was  seyit  to  the  lost  sheep  of  the 
house  of  Israel,  and  therefore  to  them  he  must  re- 
tum.     Obser\e, 

I.  'What  it  was  that  made  way  for  his  return — 
the  death  of  Herod,  which  happened  not  long  after 
the  murder  of  the  infants ;  some  think  not  above 
three  months.  Such  quick,  work  did  di\ine  ven- 
geance make  !  Note,  Herods  must  die  ;  proud  ty- 
rants, that  were  the  teiTor  of  the  mighty,  and  the 
oppressors  of  the  godly,  in  the  land  of  the  Irinng, 
their  day  must  come  to  fall,  and  down  to  the  pit  they 
must  go.  JVho  art  thou  then,  that  thou  shouldeat 
be  afraid  of  a  man  that  shall  die  ?  (Isa.  51.  12,  13.) 
especially  considering  that  at  death,  not  only  their 
envy  and  hatred  are  perished,  (Eccl.  9.  6.)  and  they 
cease  from  troubling,  (Job  3.  17.)  but  they  are  pun- 
ished. Of  all  sins,  the  guilt  of  innocent  blood  fills 
the  measure  soonest.  It  is  a  dreadful  account  which 
Josephus  gives  of  the  death  of  this  same  Herod, 
(Antiq.  Jud.  lib.  xvi.  cap.  \  iii,  ix,  x. )  th.at  he  ivas 
seized  with  a  disease  which  burned  him  inwardly 
with  an  inexpressible  torture  ;  that  he  was  insatia- 
bly greedy  ot  meat ;  had  the  colic,  and  gout,  and 
dropsy  ;  such  an  intolerable  stench  attended  his  dis- 
ease, that  none  could  come  near  him  ;  and  so  pas- 
sionate and  impatient  was  he,  that  he  was  a  tomient 
to  himself,  and  a  terror  to  all  that  attended  him  : 
his  innate  craelty,  being  thus  exasperated,  made 
him  more  barbarous  than  ever ;  havang  ordered  his 
o\vn  son  to  be  put  to  death,  he  imprisoned  many  of 
the  nobility  and  gentry-,  and  ordered  that  as  soon  as 
he  was  dead  they  should  be  killed  ;  but  that  execu- 
tion was  prevented.  See  what  kind  of  men  ha\e 
been  the  enemies  and  persecutors  of  Christ  and  his 
followers  !    Few  have  opposed  Christianity  but  such 


ST.  MATTHEW,  111. 


25 


;u.  have  firet  divested  themselves  of  liumanity,  as 
N  .-TO  and  Domitiaii. 

II.  The  oidcrs  given  from  Heaven  concerning 
•lieir  return,  and  Joseph'sobediencc  to  those  orders, 
V.  19 — 21.  CJod  had  sent  Joseph  into  Egviit,  and 
there  he  stayctl  till  the  same  that  broui;fit  him 
thitlier  ordered  him  thence.  Note,  In  all  our  re- 
moves, it  is  good  to  sec  our  way  ])lain,  and  (lod 
going  before  us  ;  we  should  not  move  either  one  v/ay 
or  the  other  without  order.  These  ordeis  were  sent 
him  by  an  angel.  Note,  Our  intercourse  with  Ciod, 
if  it  be  kept  up  on  our  part,  shall  be  kejjt  up  on  his, 
wherever  we  are.     No  place  can  exclude   (iod's 

g'acious  visits,  .\ngels  come  to  Joseph  in  Egypt,  to 
zekiel  in  Hal)ylon,  and  to  John  in  Patmos.  Now, 
1.  The  angel  informs  him  of  the  death  of  Hei'od  and 
his  accomplices  ;  T/iri/  are  dead,  iv/iic/i  soufc/it  the 
yoiDiv  Child's  life.  'I'liev'  are  dead,  but  the  young 
(Child  lives.  Persecuted  saints  sometimes  In  e  to 
tread  upon  the  gi'a\es  of  their  persecutors.  Thus 
did  the  church's  King  weather  the  storm,  and  m.any 
a  one  has  the  church  in  like  manner  weathered. 
They  arc  dead,  to  wit,  Hernd  and  his  son  Antipater, 
who,  though  there  were  mutual  jealovisics  between 
them,  vet,  i)r.)bubly,  concurred  in  seeking  the  dc- 
stniction  of  this  new  King.  If  Herod  first  kill  .-\n- 
tipater,  and  then  die  himself,  the  coasts  are  cleared, 
and  the  Lord  i.i  k-no'-im  hy  the  judgments  ivhich  he 
ex-ectites,  when  one  wicked  insli-ument  is  the  i-uin  of 
another.  2.  He  directs  hin>  what  to  do.  He  must 
g-o  and  return  to  the  land  of  Israel ;  ;md  he  did  so 
without  delay  ;  not  pleading  the  tolerably  ijood  set- 
tlement he  had  in  Kgj'])t,  or  the  inconveniences  of 
the  journey,  especially  if,  as  is  supposed,  it  was  in 
the  l)egiuning  of  winter  that  Herod  died.  God's 
people  follow  his  direction,  whithersoever  he  leads 
them,  wherever  he  lodges  tliem.  Did  we  but  look 
upon  the  world  as  our  Eey-j^t,  tlie  place  of  our  bon- 
dage and  banishment,  luid  heaven  only  as  our  Ca- 
naan, ovu"  home,  our  rest,  w-c  should  as  readily  arise, 
and  depart  thither,  when  we  are  called  for,  as  Jo- 
seph did  out  of  Egi'pt. 

III.  The  further  direction  he  had  from  God, 
which  way  to  steer,  and  where  to  fix  in  the  land  of 
Israel,  i'.  22,  23.  God  could  ha\e  given  him  these 
instnictions  with  the  former,  but  God  rc\eals  his 
mind  to  his  people  by  degrees,  to  keej)  them  still 
waiting  on  him,  and  expecting  to  hear  fiirther  from 
him.  These  orders  Josejih  recci\ed  in  a  dream, 
probably,  as  those  before,  by  the  ministration  of  an 
angel.  God  could  have  signified  his  will  to  Joseph 
by  the  Child  Jesus,  but  we  do  not  find  that  in  those 
removes  he  cither  takes  notice,  or  gives  notice,  of 
any  thing  that  occurred  ;  surely  it  was  because  in 
all  things  it  behoved  him  to  be  made  like  his  brethren  ; 
being  a  Child,  he  s/ialce  as  a  child,  and  did  as  o  child, 
and  drew  a  veil  over  his  infinite  knowledge  and 
power  ;  as  a  child  he  increased  in  wisdom. 

Now  the  direction  given  this  hol\',  royal  family, 
is,  1.  That  it  might  not  settle  in  Judea,  v.  22.  Jo- 
seph might  think  that  Jesus,  being  born  in  Bethle-  j 
hem,  must  be  brought  up  there  ;  yet  he  is  pnidently  I 
afraid  for  the  young  Child,  because  he  heard  that  \ 
irchelaus  reigns  in  Herod's  stead,  not  over  all  the 
kingdom  as  his  father  did,  but  only  over  Judea,  the 
other  prox-inces  being  put  into  other  hands.  See 
what  a  succession  of  enemies  there  is  to  fight  against 
Christ  and  his  church  !  If  one  drop  off,  another 
presently  appears,  to  keep  up  the  old  enmity.  But 
for  this  reason  Joseph  must  not  take  the  young  Child 
into  Judea.  Note,  God  will  not  thrust  his  children 
into  the  mouth  of  danger,  but  when  it  is  for  his  own 
glory  and  their  trial  ;  for  firecious  in  the  sight  of  the 
Lord  are  the  life  and  the  death  of  his  saints  ;  preci- 
ous is  their  blood  to  him. 

2.  That  it  must  settle  in  Galilee,  v.  22.  There 
Philip  now  ruled .  who  was  a  mild,  quiet  man.  Note, 

Vol.  v.— D 


The  providence  of  God  commonly  so  orders  it,  that 
his  jjcople  shall  not  want  a  [piiet  retreat  from  tl.e 
storm  and  from  the  tempest ;  when  one  climate  be- 
comes hot  iuid  scorching,  another  shall  be  kept  more 
cool  and  tem])erate.  (Jalilee  lay  far  north  ;  Sama- 
ria lay  between  it  and  Judea ;  thither  they  were 
sent,  to  Nazareth,  a  city  upon  a  hill,  in  the  centre 
of  the  lot  of  Zebulun  ;  there  the  mother  of  our  Lord 
lived,  when  she  conceived  that  holy  thing ;  and, 
proliably,  Joseph  lived  there  too,  Luke  1.  2(i,  '27. 
Thither  they  were  sent,  -and  there  they  were  well 
known,  and  were  among  their  relations;  the  most 
jiroper  place  for  them  to  be  in.  There  tlicy  con- 
tinued, and  from  thence  our  Saviour  was  called  Jesus 
ofjVazareth,  which  was  to  the  Jnvs  a  stumbling- 
bloc/:,  for,  Ca?!  any  good  thing  come  out  of  A'aza- 
rcth  ? 

In  this  is  said  to  be  fulfilled  what  was  sfiokeii  by 
the  prophets.  He  shall  be  called  a  .Vazarene ;  which 
may  be  looked  upon,  (1.)  As  a  name  of  honour  and 
dignity,  though  ])rimarily  it  signifies,  no  more  tha.. 
a  mari  of.A'azareth  ;  there  is  an  allusirn,  or  mystery 
in  it,  sjieaking  Christ  to  be,  [l."]  The  Man,  the 
Branch,  'prken  of,  Isaiah  11.  1.  The  word  there  is 
A'etzar,  which  signifies,  either  a  branch,  or  the  city 
.Vazareth  ;  in  being  denominated  from  that  city,  he 
is  declared  to  be  that  Branch.  [2.]  It  speaks  him 
to  be  the  great  .Vazarite  ;  of  whom  the  legal  Naza- 
rites  were  a  type  and  figure,  (especially  Samson, 
Judg-.  13.  5.)  aiid  Josejjh,  who  is  called  a  .Vazarite 
among  his  brethren,  (Gen.  49.  26.)  and  to  whom 
that  which  was  prescribed  conccming  the  Nuza- 
rites,  has  reference.  Numb.  6.  2,  &c.  Not  that 
Christ  was,  stric'lu,  a  Xazarite,  for  he  dr:'nk  wini, 
and  touched  dead  l)odies;  but  he  was  eminently  so, 
both  as  he  w-as  singularly  holy,  and  as  he  was  by  a 
solemn  designation  and  dedication  set  apart  to  the 
honour  of  God  in  the  work  of  our  redemption,  as 
Samson  was  to  save  Israel.  And  it  is  a  name  we 
liave  all  reason  to  rejoice  in,  and  to  know  him  by. 
Or,  (2. )  As  a  name  of  reproach  and  contenij)t.  To 
be  called  a  .Yazarene,  was  to  be  called  a  des/iicable 
man.  a  man  from  \\  horn  no  good  was  to  be  expected, 
and  to  whom  no  respect  was  to  be  paid.  The  Devil 
first  fastened  this  name  upon  Chnst,  to  render  him 
mean,  and  jircjudicc  people  against  him,  and  it  stuck 
as  a  nick-name  to  him  and  liis  followers.  Now  this 
was  not  particularlv  foretold  by  any  one  ijrophct, 
but,  in  general,  it  was  spoken  by  the  firophets,  that 
he  should  be  des/iised  and  rejected  of  men,  (Isa.  .53. 
2,  3.)  a  Jt'ortn  and  no  ma?!,  (Ps.  22.  6,  ".)  that  he 
should  be  an  Jlien  to  his  brethren,  Ps.  69.  7,  8.  Let 
no  name  of  reproach  for  religion's  sake  seem  hard 
to  us,  when  our  Master  was  himself  called  a  .Vaza- 
rtmc. 

CHAP.  III. 

At  the  slorv  of  this  chn  pier,  concprnine;  the  bnplism  of  John, 
bcfiins  the  gospel  ;  (Mark,  1.  1.)  what  went  before  is  but 
Preface  or  Introdiiotion  ;  this  is  "the  hepiiinins  of  Ihc  gos- 
pel of  Jesus  Christ."  And  Peter  observes  the  same  dale, 
Acl.s  1.  22.  besinninsr  from  the  baptism  of  Julm,  for  then 
Christ  lieuan  first  to  appear  in  liini,  and  then  in  appear  to 
him,  and  bv  liim  to  thd'  world.  Here  is,  I.  The  i;loriou: 
risinirorthnniorninsr-star — John  the  Baptist,  v.  I.  I.  The 
doctrine  he  preached,  v.  2.  2.  The  fnlfillin?  of  the  scrip- 
ture in  him.  v.  3.  ♦S.  His  manner  of  life,  v.  4.  4.  The  re- 
sort of  multitudes  to  him,  and  their  submission  to  his  bap- 
tism, V.  5,  (>.  5.  His  sermon  that  he  preached  to  the  Pha- 
risees and  .Sadducees,  wherein  he  endeavours  to  bring;  them 
to  repentance,  fv.  7 — 10.)  and  so  to  brin<?  them  to  Clirist, 
V.  II,  12.  Tl.  The  more  glorious  shininir  forth  of  the  sun 
of  rii;hteou5ness,  immediately  after;  where  wc  have,  I. 
The  honour  done  by  him  to  the  baptism  of  John.  v.  13 — 15. 
2.  The  honour  done  to  him  hy  the  descent  of  thi-  Spirit  upon 
him,  and  a  voice  from  heaven,  v.  16,  17. 

l.TN  those  days  came  .Tolin  tlie  Baptist, 
I   preaching  in  the  wilderness  of  Judea, 


36 


ST.  MATTHEW,  111. 


2.  And  saying,  Repent  ye,  for  the  kingdom 
of  heaven  is  at  hand.  3.  For  this  is  he  that 
was  spoken  of  by  the  prophet  Esaias,  say- 
ing, The  voice  of  one  crying  in  the  wilder- 
ness, Prepare  ye  the  way  of  the  Lord, 
make  his  patiis  straight.  4.  And  the  same 
John  liad  iiis  raiment  of  caniePs  hair,  and 
a  leathern  girdle  about  his  loins;  and  liis 
meat  was  locusts  and  wild  honey.  5. 
Then  went  out  to  him  Jerusalem,  and  all 
Judea,  and  all  the  region  round  about  Jor- 
dan, 6.  And  were  baptized  of  him  m  Jor- 
dan, confessing  their  sins. 

^Ve  have  here  an  account  of  the  preaching  and 
baptism  of  Jolm,  which  were  the  dawning  of  tlie 
gospel-day.     Observe, 

I.  The  time  when  he  appeared,     hi  those  days, 
{y.  1.)  or,  o/?fr  those  days,  long  after  what  was  re- 
corded in  the  foregoing  chapter,  which  left  the 
Child  Jesus  in  his  mfancy.     In  those  days,  in  the 
lime  appointed  of  the  Father  for  the  beginning  of 
the  gospel,  when  the  fulness   of  time  was   come, 
which  was  often  thus  spoken  of  in  the  Old   Testa- 
ment, in  those  days.     Now  the  last  of  Daniel's  weeks 
began,  or  rather,  the  latter  half  of  the  last  week, 
when  the  Messiah  was  to  confirm  tlie  covenant  ii'ith 
many,  Dan.  9.  27.     Christ's  appearances  are  all  in 
their  season.     Glorious  things  were  spoken  both  of 
John  and  Jesus,  at  and  before  their  births,  which 
would  have  given  occasion  to  expect  some  extraor- 
dinary appearances  of  a  divine  presence  and  power 
with  them  when  thev  were  A'ery  young ;  hut  it  is 
quite  otherwise.     Except  Christ's  disputing  with 
the  doctors  at  twelve  years  old,  nothing  appears  re- 
markable concerning  either  cf  them,  till  they  were 
about  thirty  years  old.     Nothing  is  recorded  in  their 
childhood  and  youth,  but  the  greatest  part  of  their 
life  is  temjtus  iiinxct — ivrajit  n/i  in  darkness  and  ob- 
scurity :   these  children  differ  little  in  outwai'd  .ap- 
pearance from  other  children,  as  the  heir,  w^hile  he 
is  under  age,  differs  nothing  from  a  servant,  though 
he  be  lord  of  all.     And  this  was  to  shew,  1.  That 
even  then  when  God  is  acting  as  the  God  of  Israel, 
the  Saviour,  verily  he  is  a  God  that  hideth  himself, 
(Isa.  45.  15.)    The  Lord  isin  this filace,  and  I hionv 
it  not.  Gen.  28.  15.     Our  beloved  stands  behind  the 
wall   long,  before  he  looks  fMh  at  the  it'indoivs. 
Cant.  2.  9.     2.  That  our  faith  must  principally  have 
an  eye  to  Christ  in  his  office  and  undertaking,  for 
there  is  the  dis/daii  of  his  power ;  but  in  his  person 
is  the  hidin!^  of  his  power.     All  this  while,  Christ 
was  God-man  ;   yet  we  are  not  told  what  he  said  or 
did,  till  he  appeared  as  a  Prophet ;  and  then.  Hear 
ye  him.     3.  That  young  men,  though  well  qualified, 
should  not  be  forward  to  put  forth  themsehes  in 
public  service,  but  be  humble,  and  modest,  and  self- 
diffident,  swift  to  hear,  and  sloie  to  sfieak. 

Matthew  says  nothing  of  the  conception  and  birth 
of  John  the  Ba]5tist,  which  is  lai-gely  related  by  St. 
Luke,  but  finds  him  at  full  age,  as  if  dropt  from  the 
clouds  to  preach  in  the  wilderness.  For  abo\e  three 
hundred  years  the  church  had  fteen  without  pro- 
phets ;  those  lights  had  been  long  put  out,  that  he 
might  be  the  more  desired,  who  was  to  be  the  great 
Prophet.  After  Malachi  there  was  no  prophet,  nor 
any  pretender  to  prophecy,  till  John  the  Baptist,  to 
whom  therefore  the  prophet  Malachi  points  more 
directly,  than  any  of  the  Old-Testament  prophets 
had  done;  (Mai.  3.  1.)  I  send  my  messeng-er. 

II.  The  place  where  he  appeared  first.  In  the 
tvildemess  of  Judea.  It  was  not  an  uninhabited 
desert,  but  a  part  of  the  country  not  so  thickly  peo- 
pled, nor  so  much  inclosed  into  fields  and  ^^neyards, 


as  other  parts  were ;  it  was  such  a  wilderness  as  had 
six  cities  and  their  villages  hi  it,  which  are  named, 
Josh.  15.  61,  62.     In  these  cities  and  villages  John 
preached,  for  thereabouts  he  had  hitherto  lived, 
being  born  hard  by,  in  Hebron ;  the  scenes  of  his 
action  began  there,  where  he  had  long  spent  his 
time  in  contemplation ;  and  even  when  he  shewed 
himself  to  Israel,  he  shewed  how  well  he  loved'  re- 
tirement, as  far  as  would  consist  with  his  business. 
The  word  of  the  Lord  found  John  here  in  a  ivilder- 
jiess.     Note,  No  place  is  so  remote  as  to  shut  us  out 
from  the  visits  of  divine  grace ;  nay,  commonly  the 
sweetest  intercourse  the  saints  have  with  Heaven, 
is  when  they  are  withdrawn  furthest  from  the  noise 
of  this  world.     It  was  in  this  wildey-ne.^s  of  Judea 
that  David  penned  the  63d  Psalm,  which  speaks  so 
much  of  the  sweet  communion  he  then  had  with 
God,  Hos.  2.  14.  In  a  wilderness  the  law  was  given  ; 
and  as  the  Old  Testament,  so  the  A'eiv  Testament, 
Israel  was  first  found  in  a  desert  land,  and  there 
God  led  him  about  and  instructed  him,  Deut.  32.  10. 
John  Baptist  was  a  priest  of  the  order  of  Aaron,  yet 
we  find  him  preaching  in  a  ivildemess,  and  ne\'er 
officiating  in  the  tem/ile;  but  Christ,  who  was  not  a 
Son  of  Aaron,  is  yet  often  found  in  the  temple,  and 
sitting  there  as  one  having  authority  ;  so  it  was  foT'e- 
told,  Mai.  3.  1.     The  Lord  ii'hom  ye  seek  shall  sud- 
denly come  to  his  temjile  ;  not  the  messenger  that  was 
to  prepare  his  way.     This  intimated  that  the  priest- 
hood of  Christ  was  to  thrust  out  that  of  Aaron,  and 
drive  it  into  a  wilderness. 

The  beginning  of  the  gospel  in  a  wilderness,  speaks 
comfort  to  the  deserts  of  the  Gentile  world.  Now 
must  the  prophecies  be  fulfilled,  /  ii'ill  filant  in  the 
wilderness  the  cedar,  Isa.  41.  18,  19.  The  wilder- 
ness shall  be  a  fruitful  field,  Isa.  32.  15.  And  the 
desert  shall  rejoice,  Isa.  35.  1,  2.  The  Septuagint 
reads,  the  desert  of  Jordan,  the  very  wilderness  in 
w-hich  John  preached.  In  the  Romish  church  there 
are  those  who  call  themsehes  hermits,  and  pretend 
to  follow  John  ;  but  when  they  say  of  Christ,  Behold, 
he  is  m  the  desert,  go  not  forth,  ch.  24.  26.  There 
was  a  seducer  that  led  his  followers  into  the  wilder- 
ness. Acts  21.  38. 

III.  His  preaching.  This  he  made  his  business. 
He  came,  not  fighting,  nor  disputing,  but  prcachmg  ; 
(v.  1.)  for  by  the  foolishness  of  preaching  Christ's 
kingdom  must  be  set  up. 

1.  The  doctrine  he  preached  was  that  of  repent- 
ance ;  (f.  2.)  Repent  ye.  He  preached  this  in  J;;- 
dea,  among  those  that  w-ere  called  Jews,  and  made 
a  profession  of  religion  ;  for  e^en  the)'  need  repent- 
ance. He  preached  it,  not  in  Jenisalem,  but  in  the 
wilderness  of  Judea,  among  the  ]jlain  countiy  peo- 
ple ;  for  even  those  who  think  themselves  most  out 
of  the  way  of  temptation,  and  furthest  from  the 
vanities  and  vices  of  the  town,  cannot  wash  their 
hands  in  innocency,  but  npust  do  it  in  repentance. 
John  Ba])tist's  business  was  to  call  men  to  repent  of 
their  sins;  }-\iTa.vr^titt — Bethink  yourselves ;  "Ad- 
mit a  second  thought,  to  correct  the  errors  of  the 
first — an  after-thought.  Consider  your  ways,  change 
your  minds ;  you  have  thought  amiss  ;  think  aga'm, 
and  think  aright."  Note,  True  penitents  have  other 
thoughts  of  God  and  Christ,  and  sin  and  holiness, 
and  this  world  and  the  other,  than  they  have  had, 
and  stand  otherwise  affected  toward  them.  The 
change  of  the  mind  produces  a  change  of  the  way. 
Those  who  are  truly  sorry  for  what  they  have  done 
amiss,  will  be  careful  to  do  so  no  more.  This  re- 
pentance is  a  necessary  duty,  in  obedience  to  the 
command  of  God  ;  (Acts  17.  30.)  and  a  necessary 
preparative  and  qualification  for  the  comforts  of  the 
gospel  of  Christ.  If  the  heart  of  man  had  continued 
upright  and  unstained,  di\ine  consolations  might 
have  been  received  without  this  painful  operation 
preceding ;  but,  being  sinful,  it  must  be  first  pained 


ST.  MATTHEW,  III. 


27 


before  it  can  be  laid  at  ease,  must  labour  before  it  1 
;   can  be  at  rest.     The  sore  must  be  scarclicd,  or  it 
cannot  be  cured.     /  vjound  and  I  heat. 

2.  The  arg\mient  lie  used  to  enforce  this  call,  was, 
Y or  the  kini^dom  of  heaven  is  at  hand.  The  pro- 
phets of  the  Old  Testament  called  peojjle  to  re/ient, 
tor  the  obtaining  and  securing  of  tcnijjonil  natioival 
mercies,  and  for  the  preventing  and  removing  of 
temporal  national  judgnK-nts  :  Init  now,  though  the 
duty  pressed  is  the  same,  the  reason  is  new,  and 
purely  evangelical.  Men  arc  now  considei-ed  in 
theii  personal  capacity,  and  not  so  much  as  then  in 
a  social  and  politiciU  one.  Now  rejjcnt  for  the  k'mi;- 
dom  of  heaven  ;s  at  hand;  the  go.spel-dis])ensation 
of  tlif  co\  enint  of  grace,  the  opening  of  the  king- 
dom of  licaven  to  all  believers,  by  the  death  and  re- 
surrection of  Jesus  Christ.  It  is  a  kingdom  of  which 
Chi-ist  is  the  Sovereign,  and  \vc  nnist  be  the  willing, 
loval  suljjects  of  it.  It  is  a  kingdom  of  heaven,  not 
of' this  world,  a  spiritual  kingdom  :  its  original  from 
heaven,  its  tendency  to  heaven.  John  preached  this 
as  at  hand  ;  then  it  was  at  tlie  door ;  to  vis  it  is  come, 
by  the  jjonring  out  of  the  Spirit,  and  the  full  exhibi- 
tion of  the  riclies  of  gospel-grace.  Now,  (1.)  This 
is  a  great  inducement  to  us  to  re/ient.  Tlicre  is 
nothing  like  the  consideration  of  di\inc  grace  to 
break  the  heart,  bothybr  nin  and  fro7n  s/h.  That  is 
evangelical  repentance,  that  flov.s  from  a  sight  of 
Christ,  from  a  sense  of  his  love,  and  the  hopes  of 
pardon  and  forgiveness  through  him.  Kindness  in 
conquering ;  al)used  kindness,  humbling  and  melt- 
ing. What  a  wretch  was  1  to  sin  against  such  grace, 
against  the  law  and  love  of  sucli  a  kingdom  !  (2.) 
It  is  a  great  encouragement  to  us  to  rc/ient ;  "  Re- 
pent, for  your  sins  shall  be  paixloned  u])on  your  re- 
pentance. Return  to  Cod  in  a  way  of  duty,  and  he 
will,  through  Christ,  return  to  you  in  a  way  of  mer- 
cy." The  proclamation  of  jiardon  discovers,  and 
fetches  in,  the  malefactor  who  before  fied  and  ab- 
sconded. Thus  a.re  we  drawn  to  it  v.ith  the  cords 
of  a  man  and  the  bands  of  love. 

IV.  The  /irophecy  that  was  fulfilled  in  him,  x'.  3. 
This  is  he  that  was  spoken  of  in  the  beginning  of 
that  part  of  the  pro])hecy  of  Esaias,  which  is  mostly 
evangelical,  and  which  points  at  gospel-times  and 
gospel-grace ;  see  Isa.  40.  3,  4.  John  is  here  spo- 
ken of, 

1.  As  the  voice  of  one  crying  in  the  -vildemess. 
John  owned  it  himself;  (John  1.  23.)  I  am  the  voice, 
and  that  is  all.  Ciod  is  the  Speaker,  who  makes 
known  his  mind  by  John,  as  a  man  does  by  his  voice. 
The  word  of  God  must  be  received  as.  such  ;  (1 
Thess.  2.  13.)  what  also  is  Paul,  and  what  is  Apollos, 
but  the  voice  !  John  is  called  the  voice,  can)  0iZvI',! 
— the  x'oice  of  one  crt/ing  aloud,  which  is  startling 
and  awakening.  Clirist  is  called  the  Word,  which, 
being  distinct  and  articvdate,  is  more  instructi\e. 
John,  as  the  voice,  roused  men,  and  then  Christ,  as 
the  Word,  taught  them  ;  as  we  find,  Rc\'.  14.  2. 
The  voice  of  many  waters,  and  of  a  gi-eat  thunder, 
made  way  for  the  melodious  voice  of  har/iers  and 
the  nm>  song,  v.  3.  Some  observe  that,  as  Sam- 
son's mother  must  drink  no  strong  drink,  vet  he  was 
designed  to  be  a  strong  man  ;  so  John  Baptist's  father 
was  stnick  dumb,  and  vet  he  was  designed  to  be  the 
voice  of  one  crying.  When  the  crier's  voice  is  be- 
gotten of  a  dumb  father,  it  shews  the  excellency  of 
the  fioiver  to  be  of  God,  and  not  of  man. 

2.  As  one  whose  business  it  was  to  prefiare  the 
■way  of  the  Lord,  and  to  make  his  paths  straii^ht ; 
so  it  was  said  of  him  before  he  was  bom,  that  he 
should  make  readu  a  people  prefiared  for  the  Lord, 
(Luke  1.  \7.)  as  Christ's  harbinger  and  forenmner  : 
he' was  such  a  one  as  intimated  the  nature  of  Christ's 
kingdom,  for  he  came  not  in  the  gaudy  dress  of  a 
herald  at  arms,  but  in  the  homely  one  of  a  hermit. 
<  Jfficers  are  sent  before  great  men  to  clear  the  way ; 


so  John  prepares  the  way  of  the  Lord.  (1.  .  He 
himself  (lid  so  among  the  men  of  that  gcneianon. 
In  the  Jewish  church  and  nation,  at  that  time,  all 
was  out  of  course  ;  there  was  a  great  decay  of  \ni:Xy, 
the  vitals  of  religion  were  corrupted  and  eaten  out 
by  the  traditions  and  injunctions  of  the  elders.  The 
fivribes  and  Pharisees,  that  is,  the  greatest  hypo- 
crites in  the  world,  had  the  key  of  knowledge,  and 
the  kev  of  go\  eniment,  at  their  girdle.  The  people 
were,  generally,  extremely  proud  of  their  jnivilcges, 
confident  of  justification  l)y  their  own  riglue(  usncss, 
insensible  of  sin  ;  and  tliongh  now  under  the  most 
humbling  providences,  being  lately  made  a  province 
of  the  Roman  Kmpirc,  yet  they  were  unhumbled ; 
thev  were  much  hi  the  same  tem])er  as  they  were  in 
Malachi's  time,  insolent  and  haui^hty,  and  ready  to 
contradict  the  word  of  God  :  now  John  was  sent  to 
level  these  mountains,  to  take  down  their  high 
opinion  of  themselves,  and  to  shew  them  their  sins, 
that  the  doctrine  of  Christ  might  be  tlie  more  ac- 
ceptable and  effectuid.  (2.)  His  doctrine  of  repent- 
ance and  humiliation  is  still  as  necessary  as  it  was 
then  to  ])re])are  the  way  of  the  Lord.  Js'ote,  There 
is  a  great  deal  to  lie  done,  to  make  way  for  Christ 
into  a  soul,  to  bow  the  heart  for  the  receiition  of  the 
Son  of  David  ;  (2  Sam.  19.  14.)  and  nothing  is  more 
needful,  in  order  to  this,  than  the  discovery  of  sin, 
and  a  conviction  of  the  insufficiency  of  our  own 
righteousness.  That  which  lets  will  let,  until  it  be 
taken  out  of  the  way  ;  jjrcjudices  must  l)e  removed, 
high  thoughts  brought  down,  and  captivated  to  the 
obedience  of  Christ.  Gates  of  brass  must  be  broken, 
and  bars  of  iron  cut  asunder,  ere  the  everlasting 
doors  be  opened  for  the  King  of  glory  to  come  in. 
The  way  ot  sin  and  Satan  is  a  crooked  ivay  ;  to  pre- 
pare a  way  for  Christ,  the  paths  must  be  made 
straight,  Heb.  12.  13. 

V.  Tlie  garb  in  which  he  appeared,  the  figure  ne 
made,  and  the  manner  of  his  life,  t.  4.  They  who 
expected  the  Messiah  as  a  temporal  ])rince,  would 
think  that  his  forerunner  must  come  in  great  poni]) 
and  splendour,  that  his  equipage  should  be  very 
magnificent  and  gay  ;  but  it  jm-on  es  quite  contrary  ; 
he  shall  be  great  in  the  sight  of  the  Lord,  but  mean 
in  the  e\'e  of  the  world  ;  and,  as  Christ  himself, 
having  7io  form  or  comeliness ;  to  intimate  betimes, 
that  the  g-lorv  of  Christ's  kingdom  was  to  be  spiri- 
tual, and  the  subjects  of  it  such  as  ordinarily  were 
either  found  bv  it,  or  made  by  it,  poor  and  despised, 
who  deri\  cd  their  honours,  pleasures,  and  nches, 
from  another  world. 

1.  His  dress  Tx^s  plain.  This  same  John  had  //;s 
raiment  of  earners  hair,  and  a  leathern  girdle  about 
his  loins;  he  did  not  go  in  long  clothmg,  as  the 
scribes,  or  soft  clothing,  as  the  courtiers,  but  in  the 
clothing  of  a  country -husbandman  ;  for  he  lived  in 
a  country-place,  and  suited  his  habit  to  his  habita- 
tion. Note,  It  is  good  for  us  to  accommodate  our- 
selves to  the  place  and  condition  which  God,  in  his 
pro\idence,  has  put  us  in.  John  appeared  in  this 
dress,  (1.)  To  shew  that,  like  Jacob,  he  was  a  plain 
man,  and  mortified  to  this  world,  and  the  delights 
and  gaieties  of  it.  Behold  an  Israelite,  indeed.'  Those 
that  are  loinly  in  heart  should  shew  it  by  a  holy 
negligence  and  indifference  in  their  attire  ;  and  not 
make  the  putting  on  of  apparel  their  adoming,  nor 
value  others  by  their  attire.  (2.)  To  shew  that  he 
was  a  prophet,  for  prophets  wore  rough  garments, 
as  mortified  men  ;  (Zcch.  13.  4.)  and,  especially,  to 
shew  that  he  was  the  F.lias  promised  ;  for  particu- 
lar notice  is  taken  of  Elias,  that  he  was  a  a  hairy 
man,  (which,  some  think,  is  meant  of  the  hairy 
gai-mcnts  he  wore,)  and  that  he  mas  girt  nvith  a  gir- 
dle of  leather  about  his  loins,  2  Kings  1.  8.  John 
Baptist  ap])ears  no  way  inferior  to  him  in  mortifica- 
tion ;  this  therefore  is  that  Elias  that  ivas  to  come. 
(3.)  To  shew  that  he  was  a  man  of  resolution ;  his 


28 


ST.  MATTHEW,  III. 


rirrlle  was  not  fine,  such  as  were  then  commonly 
vvoni,  but  it  was  strong,  it  was  a  leutliern  girdle; 
and  blessed  is  that  servant,  whom  his  Lord,  when 
lie  comes,  finds  with  Im  loins  girt,  Luke  12.  35. 
1  Pet.  1.  13. 

2.  His  diet  was  filain  ;  his  meat  was  locusts  and 
ivild  honey  ;  not  as  if  he  never  ate  any  thing  else  ; 
but  these  he  frequently  fed  upon,  and  made  many 
meals  of  them,  when  he  retired  into  solitary  places, 
and  continued  long  thei'e  for  contemplation.  Locusts 
were  a  sort  of  Hying  insect,  very  good  for  food,  and 
allowed  as  clean ;  (Lev.  11.  22. )  they  required  little 
dressing,  and  were  light,  and  easy  of  digestion, 
whence  it  is  reckoned  among  the  infirmities  of  old 
age,  that  the  grasshopfier,  or  locust,  is  then  a  bur- 
then to  the  stomach,  Eccl.  12.  5.  IVild  honey  was 
that  which  Canaan  flowed  with,  1  Sam.  14.  26. 
Either  it  was  gathered  immediately,  as  it  fell  in  the 
dew,  or  rather,  as  it  was  found  in  the  hollows  of 
trees  and  rocks,  where  bees  built,  that  were  not, 
like  those  in  hives,  under  the  care  and  inspection  of 
men.  This  intimates  that  he  ate  sfiaringly,  a  little 
served  his  turn  ;  a  man  would  be  long  ere  lie  filled 
his  belly  with  locusts  and  wild  honey  :  John  Baptist 
Q;a.VL\e  neither  eating  nor  drinking,  (ch.  11.  IS.) — not 
with  the  curiosity,  formality,  and  familiarity  tliat 
other  people  do.  He  was  so  entirelv  taken  up  with 
spiritual  tilings,  that  he  could  seldom  find  time  for 
a  set  meal.  Now,  (1.)  This  agreed  with  the  doc-  I 
trine  he  preached  of  refientance,  and  fruits  meet  for  I 
re/ientance.  Note,  Those  whose  business  it  is  to 
call  others  to  mourn  for  sin,  and  to  mortif\'  it,  ought 
themselves  to  live  a  serious  life,  a  life  of  self-denial, 
mortification,  and  contempt  of  the  world.  John 
Baptist  thus  shewed  the  deep  sense  he  had  of  the 
badness  of  the  time  and  place  he  lived  in,  which 
made  the  preaching  of  repentance  needful ;  e\ery 
day  was  2l  fast-day  with  him.  (2. )  This  agreed  with 
nis  office  as  Christ's  yorerz/n'jcr;  by  this  practice 
he  shewed  that  he  knew  what  the  kingdom  of  hea- 
ven was,  and  had  experienced  the  powei's  of  it. 
Note,  Those  that  are  acquainted  with  divine  and 
spiritual  pleasures,  cannot  but  look  upon  all  the  de- 
hghts  and  ornaments  of  sense  with  a  holy  indiffer- 
ence ;  they  know  better  things.  Bv  gi^'ing  others 
this  example  he  made  way  for  Christ.  Note,  A 
conviction  of  the  vanity  of  the  world,  and  every  thing 
in  it,  is  the  best  preparative  for  the  entertainment  of 
the  kingdom  of  heaven  in  the  heart.  Blessed  are 
the  poor  in  spirit. 

VI.  The  people  who  attended  upon  him,  and 
flocked  after  him  ;  (■'.'.  5.)  Then  went  out  to  him  Je- 
rusalem, and  all  Judea.  Great  multitudes  came  to 
him  from  the  city,  and  from  all  parts  of  the  country  ; 
some  of  all  sorts,  men  and  Avomen,  young  and  old, 
rich  and  poor,  Pharisees  and  Publicans  ;  they  u<e7it 
out  to  him,  as  soon  as  they  heard  of  his  preaching 
the  kingdom  of  heaven,  that  the}'  might  hear  what 
they  heard  so  much  of.  Now,  1.  This  was  a  gi-eat 
honour  put  upon  John,  that  so  many  attended  him, 
and  with  so  much  respect.  Note,  Frequently  those 
have  most  real  honour  done  them,  who  least  court 
the  shadow  of  it.  Those  who  li^'e  a  mortified  life, 
who  are  humble  and  self-denying,  and  dead  to  the 
world,  command  respect ;  and  men  have  a  secret 
value  and  reverence  for  them,  more  than  one  would 
imagine.  2.  This  gave  John  a  great  opportunitv  of 
doing  good,  and  was  an  e\'idence  that  God  was  with 
him.  Now  people  begin  to  crowd  and  press  into  the 
kingdom  of  heaven  ;  (Luke  16.  16.)  and  a  blessed 
sight  it  was,  to  see  the  denv  of  the  youth  dro]iping 
from  the  ivomh  of  the  gospel-morning,  (Ps.  110.  3.) 
"to  see  the  net  cast  where  there  were  so  manv  fish. 
3.  This  was  an  evidertte,  that  it  was  now  a  time  of 
great  expectation  ;  it  was  generally  thought  that  the 
kingdom  of  God  would  presently  appear ;  (Luke 
W.  11.)  and  therefore,  when  John  shewed  himself 


to  Israel,  lived  and  preached  at  this  rate,  so  veiy 
different  from  the  Scribes  and  Pharisees,  they  were 
ready  to  say  of  him,  that  he  was  the  Christ ;  (Luke 
3.  15.)  and  this  occasioned  such  a  continence  of  peo- 
ple about  him.  4.  Those  who  would  have  the  bene- 
fit of  John's  ministry  must  go  out  to  him  in  the  wil- 
derness, sharing  in  his  reproach.  Note,  They  who 
traly  desire  the  sincere  milk  of  the  word,  if  it  be 
not  brought  to  them,  will  seek  out  for  it :  and  they 
who  would  leani  the  doctrine  of  repentance  must 
go  out  from  the  huri-v  of  this  work!,  and  be  still. 
5.  It  appears  by  the  issue,  that  of  the  many  who 
came  to  John's  baptism,  there  were  but  few  that 
adhered  to  it ;  witness  the  cold  reception  Christ 
had  in  Judea,  and  about  Jenisalem.  Note,  There 
may  be  a  multitude  of  forward  hearers,  where  there 
are  but  a  few  ti-ue  belie\"ers.  Curiosity,  and  affec- 
tation of  novelty  and  varietv  mav  brmg  many  to 
attend  upon  good  preaching,  and  to  be  affected  with 
it  for  a  while,  who  vet  are  never  subject  to  the  power 
of  it,  Ezek.  S3.  31,'  32. 

VII.  The  rite,  or  ceremony,  by  which  he  admitted 
disciples,  v.  6.  Those  who  received  his  doctrine, 
and  submitted  to  his  discipline,  were  baptized  of  him 
in  Jordan,  thereby  professing  their  repentance,  and 
their  belief  that  the  kingdom  of  the  iSlessiah  was 
at  hand.  1.  They  testified  their  repentance  by  con- 
fessing their  sins ;  a  general  confession,  it  is  proba- 
ble, they  made  to  John  that  they  were  smncrs,  that 
they  were  polluted  by  sin,  and  needed  cleansing ; 
but  to  God  they  made  a  confession  of  particular 
sins,  for  he  is  the  party  offended.  The  Jews  had 
been  taught  lo justify  themsehes  ;  but  John  teaches 
them  to  accuse  themselves,  and  not  to  rest,  as  they 
used  to  do,  in  the  general  confession  of  sin  made  for 
all  Israel,  once  a  year,  upon  the  day  of  atonement , 
but  to  make  a  particular  acknowledgment,  e\ery 
one  of  the  plague  of  his  oum  heart.  Note,  A  peni- 
tent confession  of  sin  is  required  in  order  to  peace 
and  pardon  ;  and  those  only  are  ready  to  receive 
Jesus  Christ  as  their  Righteousness,  who  ai'e  brought 
with  sorrow  and  shame  to  own  their  guilt,  1  John  1. 
8.  2.  The  benefits  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  now 
at  hand,  were  thereupon  scaled  to  the'm  by  liaptism. 
He  washed  them  with  water,  in  token  of  this — that 
from  all  their  iniquities  God  would  cleanse  them. 
It  was  usual  with  the  Jews  to  bajitize  those  whom 
they  admitted  Proselytes  to  their  religion,  especially 
those  who  were  only  Prosehites  of  the  gate,  and  were 
not  circumcised,  as  the  Prosehites  of  righteousness 
were.  Some  think  it  was  likewise  a  custom  for  per- 
sons of  eminent  religion,  wlio  set  up  for  leaders,  by 
baptism  to  admit  pupils  and  disciples.  Christ's  ques- 
tion concerning  John's  baptism,  \^'as  itfrom  heaven, 
or  of  men  ?  implied,  that  there  were  baptisms  of 
men,  who  pretended  not  to  a  divine  mission  ;  with 
this  usage  John  complied,  but  his  was  from  heaven, 
and  was  distinguished  from  all  others  with  this  cha- 
racter. It  was  the  baptism  of  repentance.  Acts  19.  4. 
All  Israel  were  baptized  unto  Moses,  1  Cor.  10.  2. 
The  ceremonial  law  consisted  in  divei's  washings  or 
baptisms ;  (Heb.  9.  10.)  but  John's  baptism  refers 
to  the  remedial  law,  the  law  of  repentance  and  faith. 
He  is  said  to  baptize  them  in  Jordan,  that  river 
which  was  famous  for  Israel's  passage  through  it, 
and  Naaman's  cure  ;  yet  it  is  probable  that  John  did 
not  liaptize  in  that  ri\er  at  first,  but  that  afterward, 
when  the  people  who  came  to  his  baptism  were 
numerous,  he  removed  to  Jordan.  By  baptism  he 
obliged  them  to  live  a  holv  life,  according  to  the 
profession  they  took  upon  themselves.  Note,  Con.^ 
fession  of  sin  must  always  be  accompanied  with  holy  j 
resolutions,  in  the  strength  of  divine  grace,  not  to) 
return  to  it  again. 

7.  But  when  he  saw  many  of  the  Phari- 
sees and  Sadducees  come  to  his  baptism, 


ST.  MATTHEW,  III. 


29 


he  siiid  unto  them,  O  generation  of  vipers, 
who  liiUh  warned  yon  to  lice  I'roiu  tlie 
\\ rath  to  come  .'  0.  liring  lortli  thcrefoif 
fruits  m(!Ot  for  repentance:  9.  And  think 
not  to  say  within  yourselves,  We  have 
Abraham  to  our  father:  for- 1  say  unto 
you,  that  Ciod  is  able  of  these  stones  to 
raise  ui)  children  unto  Abraiiam.  10.  And 
now  also  the  axe  is  laid  unto  the  root  of 
the  trees :  tiierefore  every  tree  which  bring- 
eth  not  forth  good  fruit,  is  hewn  down  and 
cast  into  llie  fire.  11.1  indeed  baptize  you 
with  water  unto  ri'peiitance :  but  he  that 
Cometh  after  me  is  mightier  than  I,  whose 
shoes  I  am  not  worthy  to  bear :  he  shall 
baptize  you  with  tlie  Holy  G'.iost,  and  with 
fire :  12.  Whose  fan  is  in  liis  iiand,  and  lie 
will  throughly  purge  his  iloor,  and  gatlier 
his  wheat  into  the  garner;  but  he  will  burn 
up  the  chaff  with  unquenchable  fire. 

The  doctrine  Jnlin  preached  was  that  of  repen- 
tance, in  consideration  of  the  kingdom  of/ifavcri  be- 
ing at  hand ;  now  lierc  we  ha\e  the  use  of  that  doc- 
'rine.  Application  is  tlie  life  of  preaching,  so  it  was 
,-f  John's  preaching. 

Observe,  1.  To  whom  he  applied  it ;  to  the  Pha- 
risees and  Sadducees  tliat  came  to  his  baptism,  v. 
7.  To  others  he  thought  it  enough  to  say,  Re/ient, 
for  the  kingdom  of  lieuven  is  at  hand  ;  but  when  he 
saw  these  Pharisees  and  Sadducees  come  about  him, 
he  found  it  necessary  to  explain  himself,  and  deal 
more  closely.  These  were  two  of  the  three  noted 
sects  among  the  Jews  at  that  time ;  the  third  was 
that  of  the  Essenes,  whom  we  never  read  of  in  the 
Gospels,  for  they  affected  retirement,  and  declined 
busying  themselves  in  public  affairs.  The  Phari- 
sees were  zealots  for  the  ceremonies,  for  the  power 
of  the  church,  and  the  traditions  of  the  elders  ;  the 
Sidducees  ran  into  the  other  extreme,  and  were  lit- 
tle better  than  deists,  denying  the  existence  of  spi- 
rits and  a  future  state.  It  was  strange  that  they 
came  to  John's  baptism,  but  their  curiosity  brought 
them  to  1)C  hearers ;  and  some  of  them,  it  is  proba- 
ble, submitted  to  be  Ijaptized,  l)ut  it  is  certain  that 
the  generality  of  them  did  not ;  for  Christ  savs, 
(Luke  7.  29,  30.)  that  nvhi'n  the  fiuhlicans  justified 
God,  and  mere  hafitized  of  John,  the  Pharinees  and 
lawyers  rejected  the  counsel  of  God  against  them- 
selves, being  not  bajxtized  of  him.  Note,  Many 
came  to  ordinances,  who  come  not  under  the  power 
of  thicm.  Now  to  them  John  here  addresses  liim- 
self  with  all  f.iithfulness ;  and  what  he  said  to  them, 
he  said  to  the  multitude,  (Luke  3.  7.)  forthev  were 
all  concenied  in  wiiat  he  said.  2.  What  the  appli- 
cation w:ls.  It  is  plain  and  home,  and  directed  to 
their  consciences ;  he  speaks  as  one  that  came  not 
tn  jjreach  befire  them,  but  to  preach  to  the.m. 
Though  his  education  was  priv<ite,  he  was  not  b.ish- 
ful  when  he  appeared  in  public,  nor  did  he  fear  the 
face  of  man,  f.ir  he  was  full  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and 
of  power. 

I.  Here  is  a  word  of  conviction  and  awakening. 
He  begins  harshly,  calls  them  not  Rabbi,  gives  them 
not  the  titles,  much  less  the  applauses,  thev  had 
been  used  to.  :.  The  title  he  gives  them,  is,  O 
generation  of  vi/iers.  Christ  gave  them  the  same 
titles,  ch.  12.  34. — 23.  33.  They  were  as  viflers ; 
though  specious,  vet  venomous  and  poisonous,  and 
full  of  malice  and  enmity  to  eyery  thing  that  was 
good;  they  were  a  vifierous  brood,  the  seed  and 
offspi-ing  of  such  as  had  been  of  the  same  spirit ;  it 


was  bred  in  the  bone  with  them.  They  gloried  iji 
it,  th.it  thev  were  the  seed  of  Abraham  ;  but  John 
shewed  them  that  they  were  the  serpent's  seed  ; 
(compare  (jcn.  3.  15.  )of  their  father  the  Devil, 
John  H.  44.  They  were  avi/ieroiis gang,  they  were 
all  alike ;  though  enemies  to  one  another,  yet  con- 
federate in  mischief.  Note,  A  wicked  generation 
is  a.  generation  of  vi/iers,  and  thev  ought  to  be  told 
so;  It  becomes  tlio  ministers  of  Clirist  to  be  bold  in 
shewing  sinners  their  true  character.  2.  The  ulurm 
he  gives  them,  is.  Who  has  ivarned  you  to  Jlee from 
the  wrath  to  cojne?  This  intimates  that  tliey  were 
in  danger  of  the  wrath  to  come  ;  and  that  their  case 
was  so  nearly  desperate,  and  their  hearts  so  harden- 
ed in  sin,  (the  Pharisees  by  their  parade  of  religion, 
and  the  Sadducees  by  their  arguments  against  leii- 
gion,)  that  it  was  next  to  a  miracle  to  effect  any 
thing  hopeful  among  them.  "  What  bi'ings  you 
hither  .•'  Who  thought  of  seeing  you  here .'  What 
fright  have  you  been  put  into,  that  you  inquire  nfter 
the  kingdom  of  heaven?"  Note,  (1.)  '1  here  is  a 
nvralh  to  come ;  beside  present  wrath,  the  vials  of 
wliich  are  poured  out  now,  thei-e  is  futm'e  wrath, 
the  stores  of  which  are  treasured  up  for  hereafter. 
(2.)  It  is  the  great  concern  of  every  one  of  us  to  Hce 
from  that  wrath.  (3.)  It  is  wonderful  mercy  that 
we  ai'e  fairly  warned  to  flee  from  this  wrath  ;  think 
—  Who  has  warned  us?  G(jd  has  warned  us,  who 
delights  not  in  our  ruin ;  he  wanis  by  the  written 
word,  by  ministers,  by  conscience.  (4.)  These 
wamings  sometimes  startle  those  who  seemed  to 
have  been  very  much  hardened  in  their  seciu-ity  and 
good  opinion  of  themselves, 

II.  Here  is  a  word  of  exhortation  and  direction  ; 
{v.  8.)  "  Bring  forth  therefore  fruits  meet  for  re- 
pentance. Therefore,  because  you  are  warned  to 
flee  from  the  wrath  to  come,  let  the  teiTors  of  the 
Lord  persuade  you  to  a  holy  life."  Or,  "  Therefore, 
because  you  profess  repentance,  and  attend  iijjon 
the  doctrine  and  baptism  of  repentance,  evidence 
that  you  are  true  penitents."  Repentance  is  seated 
in  the  heart.  There  it  is  as  a  root ;  but  in  vain  do 
we  pretend  to  ha\'e  it  there,  if  we  do  not  bring  fortn 
the  fruits  of  it  in  a  imiversal  reformation,  forsaking 
all  sin,  and  cleaving  to  that  which  is  good ;  these 
are  fniits,  i^i'-i/c  Tii;  //»Tav-,/ac — worthy  of  repen- 
tance. Note,  Those  are  not  woithy  the  name  of 
penitents,  or  their  privileges,  who  say  they  are  sor- 
ry for  their  sins,  and  yet  persist  in  them.  They 
that  jjrofess  repentance,  as  all  that  are  baptized  do, 
nuist  be  and  act  as  becomes  penitents,  and ne\er  do 
any  thing  unbecoming  a  penitent  sinner.  It  be- 
comes penitents  to  be  humble  and  low  in  their  own 
eyes,  to  be  thankful  for  the  least  mercv,  jjatient  un- 
der the  gi-eatest  affliction,  to  be  watchfid  against  all 
appearances  of  sin,  and  approaches  towards  it,  to 
abound  in  every  duty,  and  to  be  charitable  in  judg- 
ing others. 

III.  Here  is  a  word  of  caution,  not  to  tnist  to  their 
external  privileges,  so  as  with  them  to  shift  off  these 
calls  to  repentance  ;  {v.  9.')  Think  not  to  say  within 
yourselves.  We  have  Abraham  to  our  father.  Note, 
There  is  a  great  deal  which  carnal  hearts  are  apt  to 
sav  within  themselves,  to  put  bv  the  convincing, 
commanding  jjower  of  the  word  of  God,  which  min- 
isters shovild  labi'ur  to  meet  with  and  anticipate ; 
vain  thoughts  which  lodge  within  those  who  are 
called  to  wash  their  hearts,  Jer.  4.  14.  M»  i-lxTt — 
*'  Pretend  not,  frresume  not,  to  sav  within  your- 
selves ;  be  not  of  the  o])inion  that  this  will  saxe  vou ; 
harbour  not  such  a  conceit.  Please  not  yourselves 
with  saving  this;"  (so  some  read  it;)  "rock  not 
voiu'selves  asleep  with  this,  nor  flatter  voursclves 
into  a  fool's  paradise."  Note,  God  takes  notice  of 
what  we  say  within  ourselves,  v.hich  we  dare  not 
speak  out,  and  is  acquainted  with  all  the  f;dse  rests 
of  the  soul,  and  the  fallacies  with  which  it  deludes 


30 


ST.  MATTHEW,  ITI. 


iLscU,  but  which  it  will  not  discover,  lest  it  should  ' 
he  uiidcceixed.  Many  hide-  the  lie  that  i-uins  them, 
in  t/wij-  right  /land,  and  roll  it  tinder  their  tongue, 
because  they  are  ashamed  to  own  it ;  they  keep  in 
the  Devil's  interest,  bv  keeping  the  Devil's  counsel. 
Now  John  shews  them, 

1.  ^Vhat  their  pretence  was;  "  IVe  have  Abraham 
to  our  father ;  we  are  not  sinners  of  the  Gentiles  ; 
it  is  fit  indeed  that  they  should  be  called  to  repent ; 
but  we  are  Jews,  a  holy  nation,  a  peculiar  people, 
what  is  this  to  us  ?"  Note,  The  word  docs  us  no 
good,  when  we  will  not  take  it  as  spoken  to  us,  a.nd 
belonging  to  us.  "  Think  not  that  liecause  vou  are 
the  seed  of  Abraham,  therefore,"  (1.)  "  You  need 
not  re/ient,  you  have  nothing  to  repent  of ;  your  re- 
lation to  Abraham,  and  your  interest  in  the  covenant 
made  with  him,  denominate  you  so  hol\-,  that  there 
is  no  occasion  for  you  to  change  your  mind  or  way." 
(2.)  "That  therefore  you  shaVi fare  n<ell  enough, 
though  you  do  not  refient.  Think  not  that  this  will 
bring  you  off  in  the  judgment,  and  secure  you  from 
the  wrath  to  come ;  that  God  will  connixc  at  your 
impenitence,  because  you  are  Abraham's  seed." 
Note,  It  is  vain  presumption  to  think  tliat  our  having 
good  relations  will  save  us,  though  we  be  not  good 
ourselves.  What  though  we  be  descended  from 
pious  ancestors ;  have  been  blessed  with  a  religious 
education ;  have  our  lot  cast  in  families  where  the 
fear  of  God  is  uppermost ;  and  have  good  friends 
that  advise  us,  and  pray  for  us ;  vvliat  will  all  this 
avail  us,  if  we  do  not  repent,  and  live  a  life  of  re- 
pentance ?  We  have  Abraham  to  our  father,  and 
therefore  are  entitled  to  the  privileges  of  the  cove- 
nant made  with  him  ;  being  liis  seed,  v/e  ai'e  sons  of 
the  church,  the  temple  of  the  Lord,  Jer.  7.  4.  Note, 
Multitudes,  by  resting  m  the  honours  and  advanta- 
ges of  their  visible  church-membership,  take  up 
short  of  heaven. 

2.  How  foolish  and  groundless  this  pretence  was  ; 
they  thought  that  being  the  seed  of  Abraham,  they 
were  tlie  only  people  God  had  in  the  world,  and 
therefore  that,  if  they  were  cut  off,  he  would  be  at 
a  loss  for  a  church  ;  but  John  shews  them  tlie  folly 
of  this  conceit ;  /  say  unto  you,  (whatever  you  say 
within  yoiu-selves,)  that  God  is  ante  of  these  stones 
to  raise  u/i  children  unto  Abraham.  He  was  now 
baptizing  in  Jordan  at  Kcthabara,  (John  1.  28.)  the 
house  of  passage,  where  the  children  of  Israel  passed 
over;  and  there  were  the  twelve  stones,  one  for 
each  tribe,  which  Joshua  set  up  for  a  mcmoi-ial. 
Josh.  4.  20.  It  is  not  unlikely  that  he  pointed  to 
those  stones,  which  God  should  raise  to  be,  more 
than  in  representation,  the  tv.rive  tribes  of  Israel. 
Or  perhaps  he  refers  to  Isa.  51.  1.  where  Abraham 
is  called  the  rock-  out  of  ■-.vhich  theii  Kvere  hetvn. 
That  God  who  raised  Isaac  out  of  such  a  rock,  can, 
if  there  be  occasion,  do  as  much  again,  for  with  him 
nothing  is  imjiossible.  Some  think  he  pointed  to 
those  heathen  soldiers  that  were  present,  telling  the 
Jews  that  God  would  raise  up  a  ch\irch  for  himself 
among  the  Gentiles,  and  entail  the  blessing  of  .-Vbra- 
ham  upon  them.  Thus  when  our  first  parents  fell, 
God  could  ha\'e  left  them  to  perish,  and  out  of  stones 
have  raised  up  another  Adam  and  another  Eve. 
Or,  take  it  thus  ;  "  Stones  themselves  shall  be  own- 
ed as  Abraham's  seed,  rather  than  such  hard,  dry, 
barren  sinners  as  you  are."  Note,  As  it  is  lowering 
to  the  confidence  of  the  sinners  in  Zicn,  so  it  is  en- 
toviraging  to  the  fears  of  the  sons  of  Zion,  that, 
whatever  comes  of  the  present  generation,  God  will 
never  want  a  church  in  the  world  ;  if  the  Jews  fall 
off,  the  Gentiles  shall  be  grafted  in,  ch.  21.  43.  Rom. 
11.  12. 

rV.  In  'Ae  is  a  word  of  teiTor  to  the  careless  and 
secure  Pharisees  and  Sadducees,  and  other  Jews, 
that  knew  not  the  signs  of  the  times,  nor  the  day  of 
their -N-isitation,  T.  10.     "  Now  look  about  you,  now 


that  the  kingdom  of  God  is  at  hand,  and  be  made 
sensible," 

1.  "  How  strict  and  short  your  trial  is  ;  J^oiu  the 
axe  is  carried  before  you,  now  it  is  laid  to  the  root 
of  the  tree,  now  you  arc  upon  yotir  good  behaviour, 
and  are  to  be  so  but  a  ii'hile  ;  now  vou  are  marked 
foi-  niin,  and  cannot  avoid  it  but  by  a  speedy  and 
sincere  repentance.  Now  you  miist  expect  that 
God  will  make  quicker  work  with  you  by  his  judg- 
ments than  he  did  formerly,  and  that  they  will  be- 
gin  at  the  house  of  God:  where  God  allows  more 
means,  he  allows  less  time."  Behold,  I  come  quick- 
ly. Now  they  were  put  upon  their  last  trial ;  now, 
or  never. 

2.  "  How  sore  and  severe  your  doom  will  be,  if 
you  do  not  improve  this."  It  is  now  declared  with 
the  axe  at  the  root,  to  shew  that  God  is  earnest  in 
the  declaration,  that  every  tree,  however  high  in 
gifts  and  honours,  howc\'er  green  in  external  pro- 
fessions and  performances,  if  it  bring  not  forth  good 
fruit,  the  fiiiits  meet  for  repentance,  is  h'tti'n  dotvn, 
disowned  as  a  tree  in  God  s  \'ineyard,  unworthy  to 
have  room  there,  .and  is  cast  into  the  ^re  of  (iod's 
wrath — the  fittest  place  for  barren  trees  :  what  else 
are  they  good  for  ?  If  not  fit  for  fruit,  they  are  fit 
for  fuel.  Probably,  this  refers  to  the  destruction  of 
Jenisalem  by  the  Romans,  which  w:is  not,  as  other 
judgments  had  been,  like  the  lopping  off  of  the  bran- 
ches, or  cutting  down  of  the  body  of  the  tree,  leav- 
ing the  root  to  bud  again,  but  it  would  be  the  total, 
final,  and  in-ecoverable  extii-pation  of  that  pcrple, 
in  which  all  those  should  pensh  that  continued  im- 
penitent. Now  God  would  make  a  full  end,  wrath 
was  coming  on  them  to  the  utmost. 

V.  A  word  of  instruction  concerning  Jesus  Christ, 
in  whom  all  John's  preaching  centred.  Christ's 
ministers  preach,  not  themselves,  but  him.  Here  is, 

1.  The  dignity  and  pre-eminence  of  Christ  above 
John.  See  how  meanly  he  speaks  of  himself,  that 
he  might  magnify  Christ ;  {v.  11.)  "  I  indeed  bap- 
tize you  ivith  r^'ater,  that  is  the  utmost  I  can  do." 
Note,  Sacraments  derive  not  their  efficacy  from 
those  who  administer  them  ;  they  can  only  ajiply 
the  sign  ;  it  is  Christ's  prerogative  to  give  the  thing 
signified,  1  Cor.  3.  6.  2  Kings  4.  31.  But  he  that 
comes  afer  me,  is  mightier  than  I.  Though  John 
had  much  power,  for  he  came  in  the  spirit  and 
po-.rer  of  Elias,  Christ  had  more  ;  though  John  was 
tnily  gi'eat,  gi-eat  in  the  sight  of  the  Lord,  (not  a 
greater  was  bom  of  woman,)  yet  he  thinks  Iiimself 
unworthy  to  be  in  the  meanest  i)lace  of  attendance 
upon  Christ;  -whose  shoes  I  am  not  w  rthy  to  bear. 
He  sees,  (1.)  How  mighty  Christ  is,  in  comparison 
with  him.  Note,  It  is  a  great  comfort  to  faithful 
ministers,  to  think  that  Jesus  Christ  is  mightier  than 
they,  can  do  that  /or  them,  and  that  by  them,  which 
they  cannct  do  ;  his  strength  is  perfected  in  their 
weakness.  (2.)  How  m.can  he  is,  in  comparison  with 
Christ,  not  worthy  to  carry  his  shoes  after  him  ! 
Note,  Thrse  whom  God  puts  honom-  upon,  are 
thereby  made  very  humble  and  low  in  their  owr 
eyes ;  willing  to  be  abased,  so  that  Christ  may  be 
magnified ;  to  be  any  thing,  to  be  nothing,  so  that 
Christ  may  be  all. 

2.  The  design  and  intentirn  of  Christ's  appearing, 
which  they  were  now  speedily  to  expect.  \\'hen  it 
was  ]2rophesied  that  John  should  be  sent  as  Christ's 
forerunner,  (Mai.  3.  1,  2.)  it  immediateh'  follows. 
The  Lord,  nvhom  ye  seek,  shall  suddenly  come,  and 
shall  sit  as  a  refiner,  v.  3.  And,  after  the  coming 
of  Elijah,  the  day  comes,  that  shall  burn  as  an  over, 
(Mai.  4.  1.)  to  which  tlie  Baptist  seems  here  to  re- 
fer.    Chiist  will  come  to  make  a  distinction, 

(1.)  By  the  powerfiil  working  of  his  grace;  He 
shall  baptize  you,  that  is,  some  of  you,  ii'ith  the  Holy 
Ghost,  and  ivith  fire.  Note,  [1.]  It  is  Christ's  pre- 
rogative to  baptize  ivith  the  Holu  Ghost.     This  he 


ST.  MATTHEW,  111. 


31 


Jid  in  the  extraordinary  gifts  of  the  Spirit  conferred 
upon  tlie  apostles,  to  which  Christ  liiniself  apjjlies 
tliesc  words  of  John,  Acts  1.  5.  This  lie  docs  in  the 
graces  and  comforts  of  tl>e  Spirit  g;ivei\  to  them  tliat 
ask  him,  Luke  11.  13.  John  7.  38,  39.  Sec  Acts 
11.  16.  [2.]  Tl\cy  who  are  l)aptized  with  the  Holy 
(ihost  are  baptized  ns'-.vit/tfire ;  the  seven  spirits  of 
(iod  appear  as stTCH  liim/m  rjffire,  Kev.  4.  5.  Isfire 
enUghtenins^  ?  So  tlie  Sjiirit  is  a  Sjiirit  of  ilhimina- 
lion.  Is  it  warming  ?  And  do  not  tlieir  hearts  l)nrn 
within  them  ?  Is  it  consimiing  ?  .\nd  docs  not  tlic 
S])iric  of  Judgment,  as  a  ■S/iiril  cfbiiniitig,  cimsume 
the  dross  of  their  corruptions  ?  l)oes  fire  make  all  it 
seizes  like  itself?  .\nd  does  it  move  upwards?  So 
docs  the  Spirit  make  the  soul  holy  like  itself,  and 
its  tendency  is  heaven-ward.  Christ  says,  /  am 
come  to  xmd/irc,  Luke  12.  49. 

(2. )  By  the  final  determinations  of  his  judgment ; 
(f.  V2.)  ll'/iosc  fun  is  in  /lis  hand.  His  al)ility  to 
distinguish,  as  the  eternal  wisdom  of  the  Father, 
who  sees  all  by  a  tnie  light,  and  his  authority  to  dis- 
tinguish, as  the  Person  to  whom  all  judgment  is  com- 
mitted, is  Xhe  fan  that  is  in  his  hand,  Jcr.  15.  7.  Now 
he  sits  as  a  Uetiner.  Obsene  here,  [1.]  The  visible 
church  is  Christ's  floor  ;  O  mil  threshing,  and  the 
corn  of  mij  floor,  Is;u  21.  10.  The  temple,  a  type 
of  the  chvirch,  was  built  upon  a  threshing-floor. 
[2.]  In  this  floor  there  is  a  mixture  of  wheat  and 
chaff.  Tnic  believers  are  as  wheat,  substantial, 
useful,  and  \ahiable  ;  hvpocrites  are  as  chaff,  light 
and  empty,  useless  and  worthless,  and  carried  about 
with  e\cry  wind ;  these  are  now  mixed,  good  and 
bad,  under  the  same  external  profession,  and  in  the 
same  visible  communion.  [3.  J  There  is  a  dav  com- 
ing when  the  floor  shall  be  purged,  and  the  wheat 
and  chaflT  shall  be  sejiarated.  Something  of  this  kind 
is  often  done  in  this  world,  when  God  calls  his  peo- 
ple out  of  Babylon,  Rev.  18.  4.  But  it  is  the  day  of 
the  last  judgment  tluit  will  be  the  great  winnowing, 
distingiiishing  day,  which  will  infallibly  determine 
concerning  doctrines  and  works,  (1  Cor.  3.  13.)  and 
concerning  persons,  {ch.  25.  32,  33.)  when  saints  and 
sinners  shall  be  parted  for  ever.  [4.  ]  Heaven  is  the 
garner  into  which  Jesus  Christ  wdl  shortly  gather 
all  his  wheat,  and  not  a  grain  of  it  shall  be  lost :  he 
will  gather  them  as  the  ripe  fniits  were  gathered  in. 
Death's  scythe  is  made  use  of  to  gather  them  to 
their  people.  In  hca\cn  the  saints  arc  brought  to- 
gether, and  no  kmger  scattered  ;  they  arc  safe,  and 
no  longer  exposed  ;  separated  from  cornipt  neigh- 
bours without,  and  cornipt  affections  within,  and 
there  is  no  chaff  among  them.  Thev  are  not  only 
gathered  into  the  ham,  {ch.  13.  30.)  but  into  tlif 
garner,  where  they  are  throughly  purified.  [5.] 
Hell  is  the  uncjuenchabte  Jire,  whicli  will  bum  up 
the  chaff,  w-hich  w-ill  certainly  be  the  portion  and 
])unishment,  and  e\'erlasting  destniction,  of  hv])o- 
crites  and  unbelievers.  So  that  here  are  life  and 
death,  good  and  evil,  set  before  us  ;  according  as  we 
now  arc  in  the^ffW,  we  shall  be  then  in  the  /?oor. 

1 3.  Then  Cometh  Jesus  from  Galilee  to 
Jordan  unto  John,  to  be  baptized  of  him. 
14.  But  John  forbade  him,  saying,  I  have 
need  to  be  baptized  of  tiiee,  and  comest 
thou  to  me?  15.  And  Jesus  answering, 
said  unto  him,  Suffer  //  tn  hr  an  now:  for 
thus  it  lierometh  us  to  fulfil  all  righteous- 
ness. Then  he  suffered  him.  ic.  And 
Jesus,  when  he  was  baptized,  went  up 
straightway  out  of  the  water:  and,  lo,  the 
heavens  were  opened  unto  him,  and  he  saw 
the  Spirit  of  God  descending  like  a  dove, 
and  lighting  upon  him      17  And  lo,  a  voice 


from  heaven,  saying.  This  is  my  beloved 
Son,  in  whom  I  am  well  pleased. 

Our  Lonl  Jesus,  from  his  childhood  till  now,  when 
he  was  almost  thirtv  years  of  age,  had  lain  hid  in 
Galilee,  as  it  were,  huried  alive  ;  but  now,  after  a 
long  and  dark  night,  behold,  the  Sun  of  righteous 
ness  rises  in  glorj'.  The  fulness  of  time  ivas  come 
that  Christ  should  enter  upon  his  prophetical  office  ; 
and  he  chooses  to  do  it,  not  at  Jerusalem,  (though  it 
is  ])robable  that  he  went  thither  at  the  three  yearly 
feasts,  as  others  did,)  but  there  tvhere  John  was 
bafilizing ;  iov  to  him  resorted  those  Vi\\a  nvaited for 
the  consolation  of  Israel,  to  whom  alone  he  wouhl  be 
welcome.  John  the  Baptist  was  six  months  older 
than  our  Saviour,  and  it  is  supjjoscd  that  he  began 
to  ])reach  and  baptize  about  six  months  before  Christ 
a])i)earcd  ;  so  long  he  was  employed  in  i)reparing  his 
way,  in  the  region  round  about  Jordan  ;  and  more 
was  done  towards  it  in  these  six  months  than  liad 
been  done  in  scvei'al  ages  before.  Christ's  coming 
from  CJalilce  to  Jordan,  to  be  ba/itized,  teaches  us 
not  to  shrink  from  pains  and  travail,  tliat  we  may 
ha\e  an  ojjiiortunity  of  drawing  nigh  to  (Jod  in  an 
ordinance.  \\'e  should  be  willing  to  go  far,  rather 
than  come  short  of  CDmmunion  with  God.  They 
who  will  find  must  seek. 

Now  in  this  story  of  Christ's  baptism  we  may  ob- 
serve, 

I.  How  hardly  John  was  persuaded  to  admit  of  it, 
T.  14,  15.  It  was  an  instance  of  Christ's  great  hu- 
mility, that  he  would  ofter  himself  lo  be  ba/itized  of 
John  ;  that  he  tvho  /cneii)  no  sin  would  submit  to  the 
baptism  of  repentance.  Note,  As  soon  as  ever 
Christ  began  to  preach,  he  preached  humility, 
preached  it  by  his  example,  preached  it  to  all,  es- 
pecially to  young  ministers.  Christ  was  designed 
for  the  highest  honours,  yet  in  his  first  step  he  thus 
abases  himself.  Note,  They  who  would  rise  high 
must  begin  low.  Before  honour  is  humility.  It  was 
a  gi-eat  piece  of  respect  done  to  John,  for  Christ  thxis 
to  come  to  him  ;  and  it  was  a  return  for  the  ser\'ice 
he  did  him,  in  giving  notice  of  his  approach.  Note, 
Those  that  honour  God  he  will  lionour.  Now  here 
we  have, 

1.  The  objection  that  John  made  against  baptizing 
Jesus,  1'.  14.  yo/i?;_/&)'Aaf/f ///;»,  as  Peter  did,  when 
Christ  went  about  to  wash  his  feet,  John  13.  6,  8. 
Note,  Cl'irist's  gracious  condescensions  are  so  sur- 
prising, as  to  appear  at  first  incredible  to  the  strong- 
est believers  ;  so  deep  and  mysterious,  that  even 
they  who  know  his  mind  well  cannot  soon  find  out 
the  meaning  of  them,  but,  by  reason  of  darkness, 
start  objections  against  the  will  of  Christ.  John's 
modesty  thinks  this  an  honour  too  great  for  him  to 
receive,  and  he  expresses  himself  to  Christ,  just  as 
his  mother  had  done  to  Christ's  mother;  (Luke  1. 
43.)  Ulience  is  this  to  me,  that  the  ?nother  of  my  Lord 
should  come  to  7ne  ?  John  had  now  obtained  a  gi-cat 
name,  and  was  imi\ersal!y  rcsjiected  :  yet  see  how 
humble  he  is  still  !  Note,  God  has  further  honours 
in  reserve  for  those  whose  spirits  continue  low  when 
their  I'cpiitation  rises. 

(1.)  John  thinks  it  necessary  that  he  should  be 
baptized  of  Christ  ;  /  have  need  to  be  bafitized  of 
thee  with  the  baptism  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  as  of  fire, 
for  that  was  Christ's  baptism,  t.  11.  [1.]  Though 
John  nvas  filled  ivith  the  Holy  Ghos,t  from  the  ivomb, 
(Luke  1.  15.)  yet  he  acknowledges  he  had  need  to 
be  baptized  with  that  baptism.  Note,  They  who 
have  much  of  the  Spirit  of  God,  yet,  while  here,  in 
this  imperfect  state,  see  that  they  have  need  of 
more,  and  need  to  apply  themsehcs  to  Christ  for 
more.  [2.]  John  has  need  to  be  baptized,  though  he 
was  \.\\e  greatest  that  e-i'ernvas  bom  ofvjoman;  yet, 
being  born  of  a  woman,  he  is  polluted,  as  others  of 
.Adam's  seed  are,  and  owns  he  has  need  of  cleansing. 


32 


ST.  MATTHEW,  III. 


Note,  the  purest  souls  are  most  sensible  of  their  own 
remaining  impurity,  and  seek  most  earnestly  for 
spiritual  washmg.  [3.]  He  has  need  to  be  baptized 
0/ Christ,  who  can  do  tliat  for  us,  which  no  one  else 
can,  and  which  must  be  done  for  us,  or  we  are  im- 
done.  Note,  The  best  and  holiest  of  men  have  need 
q/"  Christ,  and  the  better  they  are,  the  more  they  see 
of  that  need.  [4.]  This  was  said  before  the  mul- 
titude, who  had  a  great  veneration  for  John,  and 
were  ready  to  embrace  him  for  the  Messiah  ;  yet  he 
publicly  owns  that  he  had  need  to  be  ba/itized  of 
Christ.  Note,  It  is  no  disparagement  to  the  great- 
est of  men,  to  confess  that  they  are  undone  without 
Christ  and  his  grace.  [5.  ]  John  was  Christ's  fore- 
i-unner,  kuid  yet  owns  that  he  had  need  to  be  hajitized 
o/him.  Note,  Even  they  who  were  before  Christ 
in  time  depended  on  him,  received  from  him,  and 
had  an  eye  to  him.  [6.]  While  John  was  dealing 
with  others  about  their  souls,  observe  how  fcelinglv 
he  speaks  of  the  case  of  his  own  soul,  /  have  need  to 
be  ba/itized  of  thee.  Note,  Ministers,  who  preach 
to  others,  and  bajitize  others,  are  concerned  to  look 
to  it  that  they  preach  to  themselves,- :md  be  them- 
selves Ijaptized  with  the  Holy  Ghnst.  Take  heed 
to  thyself  first ;  sax<e  tinjself,  1  Tim.  4.  16. 

(2.)  He  therefore  thinks  it  \"eTy  preposterous  and 
absurd,  that  Christ  should  be  Ijaptized  by  him  ;  Co- 
mest  thou  to  me?  Docs  the  holy  Jesus,  that  is  sepa- 
rated from  sinners,  come  to  lie  baptized  by  a  sinner, 
as  a  simier,  and  among  sinners  ?  How  can  this  be  ? 
Or  what  account  can  we  give  of  it  ?  Note,  Christ's 
coming  to  us  mav  well  be  wondered  at. 

2.  The  over-ruling  of  this  objection  :  {x\  15. )  Jeans 
said,  Suffer  it  to  be  so  now.  Christ  accejited  his 
humility,  but  not  his  refusal  ;  he  will  ha-ie  the  thing 
done  ;  and  it  is  fit  that  Christ  should  take  his  own 
method,  tliough  we  do  not  understaiid  it,  nor  can 
give  a  reason  for  it     See, 

(1.)  How  Christ  insists  upon  it ;  it  must  beso  now. 
He  does  not  deny  that  John  had  need  to  be  bafitized 
q/"him,  yet  he  will  now  be  bafitized  of  John.  "  A<f  sc 
afri — Let  it  be  yet  so  ;  Suffer  it  to  he  so  now.  Note, 
Every  tiling  is  beautiful  in  its  season.  But  why  ;;oto  .? 
Why  yet  ?  [1.]  Christ  is  now  in  a  state  of  humilia- 
tion :  he  has  emptied  himself,  and  made  himself  of 
no  refutation.  He  is  not  on]y  found  in  fashion  as  a 
Jnan,  but  is  made  in  the  li!:eness  of  sinful  flesh,  and 
therefore  now  let  him  be  bafitized  of  John  ;  as  if  he 
needed  to  be  washed,  though  perfectly  pure  ;  and 
thus  he  was  )nade  Sin  for  us,  though  he  ^-new  no  si:i. 
[2.]  John's  baptism  is  now  in  reputation,  it  is  tliat 
by  which  God  is  now  doing  his  work  ;  tliat  is  the 

g resent  dispensation,  :uid  therefore  Jesus  v,-ill  now 
e  baptized  with  water  ;  but  his  baptizing  with  the 
Holy  Ghost  is  reserved  for  hereafter,  7nani/  dai/s 
hence.  Acts  1.  5.  John's  baptism  has  izory  its  day, 
and  therefore  honour  must  noiv  be  put  upon  that, 
and  tliev  who  attend  upon  it  must  be  encouraged. 
Note,  Tliey  who  are  of  greatest  attainments  in  gifts 
and  graces,  should  yet,  in  their  i>lace,  bear  their 
testimony  to  instituted  ordinances,  bv  a  humble  and 
diligent  attendance  on  them,  that  they  may  give  a 
good  example  to  others.  What  we  see  God  owns, 
and  while  we  see  he  docs  so,  we  must  own.  John 
was  now  increasinsr,  and  therefore  it  must  lie  thus 
yet ;  shoitly  he  will  dcci-ease,  and  then  it  will  be 
otherwise,  [o.]  It  must  be  so  no-.v,  because  now  is 
the  time  for  Christ's  ajipearing  in  public,  and  this 
vnVi  be  a  fair  opport\iuity  for  it.  See  John  1.  31 — 3- 
Thus  he  must  be  made  manifest  to  Israel,  and  be  sig- 
nalized by  wondei-s  from  heaven,  in  that  act  of  his 
own,  which  was  most  condescending  and  self-rabasing. 
(2.)  The  reason  he  gives  for  it ;  Thus  it  becomes 
us  to  fulfil  all  righteousness.  Note,  [1.1  There  was 
a  propriety  in  ever\'  thing  that  Christ  did  fir  us  ;  it 
was  aJl  graceful  ;  (Heb  2.  10. — 7.  26.)  and  we  m\ist 
study  to  do  not  onlv  that  which  behoves  us.  '>"t  that 


which  becomes  us  ;  not  only  that  which  is  ind'spen 
sably  necessary,  but  that  which  is  lovely,  and  of  good 
report.  [2.]  Our  Lord  Jesus  looked  upon  'it  as  a 
thing  well  becoming  him,  to  fulfil  all  righteousness, 
that  is,  (as  Dr.  \\"hitby  explains  it,)  to  own  every 
divine  institution,  and  to  shew  his  readiness  to  com- 
ply with  all  God's  righteous  precepts.  Thus  it  be- 
comes him  to  justify  God,  and  approve  his  wisdom, 
in  sending  John  to  prepare  his  way  by  the  baptism 
of  repentance.  Thus  it  becomes  us  to  countenance 
and  encourage  every  thing  that  is  good,  bv  pattern 
as  well  as  precept  Christ  often  mentioned  John 
and  his  bajitism  with  honour,  which,  that  he  might 
do  the  better,  he  was  himself  baptized.  Thus  Jesus 
began ^fre/  to  do,  and  then  to  teach  ;  ;.nd  his  minister? 
must  take  the  same  method.  Thus  Christ  filled  ufi 
the  righteousness  of  the  ceremonial  law,  which  con 
sisted  in  divers  washings ;  thus  he  recommended 
the  gospel-ordinance  of  baptism  to  his  church,  put 
honour  u])nn  it,  and  shewed  what  virtue  he  desigiied 
to  put  into  it.  It  became  Christ  to  submit  to  John's 
washing  with  water,  because  it  was  a  diiine  ajijioint- 
ment ;  but  it  became  him  to  oppose  the  Pharisees' 
washing  with  water,  because  it  was  a  human  in\en- 
tion  and  imposition  ;  and  he  justified  his  disciples  in 
refusing  to  comply  with  it. 

With  the  will  of  Christ,  and  this  reason  for  it, 
John  was  entirely  satisfied,  and  theji  he  suffered  him. 
'i"he  same  modesty  which  made  him  at  first  decline 
the  honour  Christ  offered  him,  now  made  him  do 
the  senice  Christ  enjoined  him.  Note,  No  pretence 
of  humility  must  make  us  decline  rur  dutv. 

II.  How  solemnlv  Heaven  was  pleased  to  grace 
the  baptism  of  Christ  with  a  special  disjjlav  of  glo- 
ITT ;  {v.  16,  17.)  Jesus  '.ehen  he  was  bafitized,  went 
lifi  straightway  out  of  the  water.  Others  that  were 
baptized  stayed  to  confess  their  sins;  {v.  6.)  but 
Christ,  having  no  sins  to  confess,  went  ufi  immedi- 
ately out  of  the  water ;  so  we  read  it,  but  not  i-ight : 
for  it  is  i^''  tJ  '•.iiT-.t—^from  the  water;  from  the  brink 
of  the  river,  to  which  he  went  down  to  be  washed 
with  water,  that  is,  to  have  his  head  or  face  washed  ; 
(John  13.  2.)  for  here  is  no  mention  of  the  putting 
off,  or  ])utting  on,  of  his  clrthes  which  circumstance 
would  not  have  lieen  omitted,  if  he  had  been  baptized 
naked.  Jfe  leent  ufi  straightwau,  as  one  that  en- 
tered upon  his  work  with  the  utmost  cheerfulness 
and  resolution  ;  he  would  lose  no  time.  How  was 
he  straitened  till  it  was  accomfilished  ! 

Now,  when  lie  was  coming  iifi  out  of  the  water, 
and  all  the  company  had  their  e\c  upon  him, 

1.  Jo  !  the  /leavens  were  ofiened  unto  him,  so  as 
to  discover  something  above  and  beyond  the  starry 
firmament,  at  least,  to  him.  This  was,  (l.)To  en- 
courage him  to  go  on  in  his  trndertakinir,  with  the 
prospect  of  the  glory  ;md  ;ow  that  were  set  befor'him. 
Heaven  is  opened  to  receive  him,  when  he  lia~  '-nish- 
ed  the  work  he  is  now  entering  upon.  (2. )  To  en- 
courage us  to  receive  him,  and  submit  to  him.  Note, 
In  and  throu<;h  Jesus  Christ,  the  lieaiens  are  open- 
ed to  the  children  of  men.  Sin  shut  up  heaven,  put 
a  stop  to  all  friendh'  intcrccurse  between  Grd  and 
man  ;  but  now  Christ  has  opened  the  kingdom  of 
heaven  to  all  beli:fers.  Divine  lieht  and  love  are 
darted  down  upon  the  children  of  men,  ?.nAwehave 
boldness  to  enter  into  the  holiest.  We  have  receipts 
of  mercvfrom  God,  we  make  retums  of  duty  to  God, 
and  a!!  by  Jesus  Christ,  who  is  the  Ladder  that  has 
its  foot  on  earth  and  its  top  in  heaven,  by  whom 
alone  it  is  that  we  ha\e  any  comfortable  correspon- 
dence with  God,  or  any  hope  of  getting  to  heaven 
at  last.  T7ie  heavens  were  ofiened  when  Christ  was 
baptized,  to  teach  us,  that  when  we  duly  attend  on 
God's  ordinances,  we  mai'  expect  communion  with 
him,  and  communications  from  him. 

2.  He  saw  the  Sfiirit  of  God  descending  litre  a  dovr , 
or  as  a  dove,  and  comin^cr lighting^ipcn  him.  Christ 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IV. 


33 


saw  it.  (Mark  1.  10. )  and  John  saw  it,  (John  1.  33,  34. ) 
and  it  is  probable  that  all  the  st;inders-by  saw  it ;  for 
(his  was  nitc-ndcd  to  be  his  public  inaugunition.  Ob- 
serve, 

(1. )  The  S/iiril  of  God  descended,  and  lighted  on 
him.  In  the  bcginninc;  of  the  old  world,  Hie  Spirit 
\-)f(iod  moved  u/ion  the  fare  of  the  ivaters,  (Cicn.  1. 
'.2.  J  hovered  as  a  bird  upon  tWu  nest.  So  here,  in  the 
Ijeginning  of  this  new  world,  Christ,  as  God,  needed 
not  to  receive  the  Holy  (ihost,  but  it  was  foretold 
that//<^  •S/tiril  of  the  Lord  sliould  rest  ufion  him,  (Isa. 
n.  2. — 61.  1.)  and  here  he  did  so  ;  for,  [1.]  lie  was 
to  be  a  Prophet ;  and  ])ro])hcts  always  spake  l)y  the 
Spirit  of  (lod,  who  came  upon  them.  C  hrist  was  to 
execute  the  proijhetic  office,  not  bv  his  div  ine  nature, 
(says  Dr.  ^^  hitby,)  but  by  the  afflatus  of  the  Holy 
Spirit  [2.]  He  was  to  be  the  Head  of  the  church  ; 
and  the  H/iirit  descended  u/ion  Aim,  by  him  to  be  de- 
rived to  all  lielicvers,  in  his  gifts,  graces,  and  comforts. 
The  ointment  on  the  head  ran  doirn  to  the  skirts; 
Christ  received  gifts  for  men,  that  he  might  give 
gifts  to  men. 

(2. )  He  descended  on  him  like  a  dox<e  ;  whether  it 
was  a  real,  living  dove,  or,  as  was  ustial  in  visions, 
the  representation  or  similitude  of  a  dove,  is  uncer- 
tain. If  there  must  be  a  bodily  shape,  (Luke  3.  22.) 
it  must  not  be  th.at  of  a  man,  for  the  being  seen  ;>; 
fashion  as  a  man  was  peculiar  to  the  second  person; 
none  therefore  was  more  fit  than  the  shape  of  one 
of  the  fowls  of  heaven,  (heaven  being  now  opened,) 
and  of  all  fowl  none  was  so  significant  as  the  dove. 
[1.]  The  Spiiit  of  Christ  is  a  dove-like  spirit;  not 
like  a  silly  dove,  '.without  heart,  (Hos.  7.  11. ;  but  like 
an  innocent  do\-e  without  gall.  The  Spirit  descend- 
ed, not  in  the  shape  of  an  eagle,  which  is,  though  a 
royal  bird,  yet  a  bird  of  prey,  but  in  the  shape  of  a 
dox-e,  than  which  no  creature  is  more  harmless  and 
inoffensive.  Such  was  the  Spirit  of  Christ  ;  Ye  shall 
7Wt  strii'c,  nor  cry  ;  such  must  christians  be,  harm- 
less as  doves.  The  dove  is  remarkable  for  hei'  eyes; 
we  find  that  both  the  eyes  of  Christ,  (Cant.  5.  12.) 
and  the  eyes  of  the  church,  (Cant.  1.  15. — 4.  1.)  arc 
compared  to  doves'  eyes,  for  they  have  the  same 
spirit.  The  dove  mourns  much,  (Isa.  38.  14.)  Christ 
wept  oft  ;  and  penitent  souls  are  compared  to  doves 
f  tlie  valleys.  [2.]  The  dove  was  the  only  fowl 
that  was  offered  in  sacrifice,  (Lev.  1.  14.)  and  Christ 
by  the  Spirit,  the  eternal  .Spirit,  offered  himself '.vith- 
out  spot  to  (iod.  [3.]  The  tidings  of  the  decrease 
of  Noah's  flood  were  brought  by  a  dove,  with  an 
olive-leaf  hi  her  moiith;  fitly  therefore  are  the  glad 
tidings  of  peace  with  God  brought  by  the  Spirit  as 
a  dove.  It  speaks  God's  good-'.vill  toi'rard  men ;  that 
his  thougiits  towards  us  are  ihozights  of  good,  and 
not  of  evil.  By  the  voice  of  the  turtle  heard  in  our 
land,  (Cant.  2.  12.)  the  Chaldee  paraphrase  under- 
stands, the  voice  of  the  Holy  Spirit.  That  God  is  in 
Christ  reconciling  the  world  unto  himself,  is  a  joyful 
message,  which  comes  to  us  upon  the  wing, '  the 
-.vings  of  a  dove. 

3.  To  explain  and  coijipletc  this  solemnity,  there 
cam-  a  voice  from  hecrven,  which,  we  have  reason  to 
think,  was  heard  by  all  that  were  present.  The 
Holy  Spirit  manifested  himself  in  the  likeness  of  a 
dove,  but  God  the  Father  by  a  voice;  for  when  the 
law  was  given  they  sa':i<  no  manner  of  similitude,  only 
they  heard  a  voice  :  (Dcut.  4.  12.)  and  so  this  gcspel 
came,  and  gospel  indeed  it  is,  the  best  news  that 
ever  came  from  heaven  to  earth;  for  it  speaks  plainly 
and  fully  Ciod's  favour  to  Christ,  and  us  in  liim. 

(1.)  See  here  how  God  owr,s  our  Lord  Jesus  ;  JViis 
is  my  beloved  Son.  Observe,  [1.1  The  relation  he 
stord  ii  to  him  ;  He  is  my  son.  Jesus  Christ  is  the 
Son  of  Ciod  by  eternal  generation,  as  he  was  begotten 
of  the  Fa'her  before  alt  iforlds,  (Col.  1.  15.  Hcb.  ]. 
:'.>  and  by  supernatural  conception;  he  was  therefore 
called  the  Son  of  God,  because  he  v:as  conceived  bv 

\oj..  v.— E 


the po'.ver  of  the  Holy  Ghost;  fLuke  1.  o5.)  yet  this 
is  not  all ;  he  is  the  Son  of  (iod  by  special  designation 
to  the  work  and  office  of  the  world  s  Hcdccmer.  He 
was  sanctified  and  sealed,  and  sent  upon  that  errand, 
brought  up  tvith  the  Father  for  it,  (Prov.  8.  30.) 
appomted  to  it;  I ivill  make  him  mu  J'irst-born,  Ps. 
89.  27.  [2.]  The  affection  the  Father  had  for  him; 
He  is  my  beloved  Son;  his  dear  Son,  the  Son  of  his 
love;  (Col.  1.  13.)  he  had  lain  in  his  Imsoni  fn  m  all 
eternity,  (John  1.  lH.)had  hi-i^n  aheays  his  dt  light, 
(Prov.  H.  .30.)  but  i)ai-tir>darly  as  Mediator,  and  in 
vmdei-taking  tlie  w  ork  of  num's  salvation,  he  was  his 
beloved  Son.  He  is  mine  Jilect,  in  tvhom  my  sou. 
delights.  See  Isa.  42.  1.  Because  he  ccnsentcd  to 
the  covenant  of  redemption,  and  delighted  to  do  that 
ivill  of  God,  then  fore  the  Talher  loved  him.  John 
10.  1". — 3.  35.  Behold,  then,  behold,  and  Avcnder, 
ivhat  manner  of  love  the  Father  has  bestoived  upon 
us,  that  he  should  deliver  u))  him  that  was  the  Son 
of  his  love,  to  suffer  and  die  for  those  that  were  the 
generation  of  his  wrath;  nay,  and  that  he  therefore 
loved  him,  because  he  laid  dovn  his  life  for  the  theep! 
Now  know  we  that  he  loved  us,  seeing  he  has  not 
'■.-.'ithhrld  his  Son,  his  only  Son,  his  Isaac  tvhom  he 
loved,  but  gave  him  to  be  a  Sacrifice  for  our  sin. 

(2. )  Sec  here  how  ready  he  is  to  own  us  in  him  : 
He  is  mil  beloved  Son,  not  only  nvith  whom,  but  in 
whom,  I  am  well-pleased.  He  is  pleased  with  all 
that  arc  in  him,  and  are  imited  to  him  h\-  faith. 
Hitherto  God  had  been  displeased  with  the  chil- 
dren of  men,  but  now  his  anger  is  turned  away,  and 
he  has  made  us  accepted  in  the  Beloved,  Eph.  1.  6. 
Let  all  the  world  take  notice,  that  this  is  the  Peace- 
maker, the  Days-man,  who  has  laid  his  hand  upon 
us  both,  and  that  there  is  no  coming  to  God  as  a  Fa- 
ther, but  bii  him  as  Mediator,  John  14.  6.  In  him 
our  spiritual  sacrifices  are  acceptable,  for  he  is  the 
Altar  that  sanctifies  ex-enj  gift,  1  Pet.  2.  5.  Out 
of  Christ,  God  as  a  consuming  Fire,  but,  in  Christ,  a 
reconciled  Father.  This  is  the  sum  of  the  whole 
gospel  ;  it  is  a  faitlful  saying,  and  tvorthy  of  all  ac- 
ceptation, that  Go'd  has  declared,  by  a  voice  from 
heaven,  that  Jesus  Christ  is  his  beloved  Son,  in  ivhom 
he  is  well-pleased,  with  which  we  must  bv  faith 
cheei-fulh'  concur,  and  say,  that  he  is  our  beloved 
Saviour,  in  '.vhom  nve  arc  ivcli-pleascd. 

CHAP.  IV. 

John  Baptist  said  concerning;  Christ,  He  mi:st  increase,  but  I 
t  must  decrease;  ond  so  it  proved.  For,  after  John  Iiac? 
baptized  Ciiri?t,  and  borne  his  testimony  to  him,  wc  hear 
little  more  of  liis  ministry  ;  he  had  done  wliat  lie  camoto 
do,  and  tlienceforward  there  is  nsmueh  talkof  Jesusaserer 
there  had  been  of  John.  As  tlie  rising  .Snn  advanees,  the 
mnrnincr  star  disappears.  Cuncerniiifr  .lesns  Christ  we 
have  in  this  chapter,  I.  The  teniptation  he  underivtat,  the 
triple  assault  the  tempter  made  upon  him.  and  the  repulse 
he  irave  to  each  assault,  v.  I  . .  1 1.  M.  The  teothine  work 
he  undertook,  the  places  he  preaclied  in,  ^v.  12  .  .  16.)  and 
the  subject  he  preached  on,  v.  I".  111.  HiscjIIinj  of  di.s- 
ciplcs,  Peter  and  Andrew,  James  and  John,  v.  18  .  .  22. 
IV.  His  curin:;  diseases,  fv.  C;!,  24.)  and  the  preat  resort 
of  people  to  him,  both  to  be  taught  and  le  be  healed. 

1 .  npHEN  was  .1p«iis  led  up  of  tlic  Spirit 
_n_  into  the  wildornc??,  to  ho  tempted 
of  the  devil.  2.  And  when  he  l;ad  fasted 
forlv  davs  and  forty  ni£;hls,  he  was  after- 
ward fin  hunn^-ed.  .".  And  when  the 
tomptor  rame  to  him,  lie  .=;aid,  If  thou  be 
the  Son  of  God,  command  that  these  stones 
be  made  bread.  4.  Vn\i  he  answered  and 
said,  It  is  written,  Man  shall  not  live  by 
bread  alone,  but  by  every  word  that  pro- 
ceedeth  out  of  the  mouth  of  God.  5.  Then, 
the  devil  taketh  him  up  into  tbe  holy  city^ 


34 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IV. 


anct  setteth  him  a',  a  pinnacle  of  the  tem- 
ple, 6.  And  saith  unto  him,  If  thou  be  the 
Son  of  God,  cast  thyself  down ;  for  it  is 
written.  He  shall  give  his  angels  charge 
concerning  thee,  and  in  their  hands  they 
shall  bear  thee  up,  lest  at  any  time  thou 
dash  thy  foot  against  a  stone.  7.  Jesus 
said  unto  him.  It  is  written  again.  Thou 
shalt  not  tempt  the  Lord  thy  God.  8.  Again, 
the  devil  taketh  him  up  into  an  exceeding 
high  mountain,  and  slieweth  him  all  the 
kingdoms  of  the  world,  and  the  glory  of 
them :  9.  And  saith  unto  him.  All  these 
things  will  I  give  thee,  if  thou  -wilt  fall  down 
and  worship  me.  1 0.  Then  saith  Jesus  unto 
him.  Get  thee  hence,  Satan :  for  it  is  writ- 
ten. Thou  shalt  worship  the  Lord  tliy  God, 
and  him  only  shalt  thou  serve.  11.  Then 
the  devil  leaveth  liim,  and,  behold,  angels 
came  and  ministered  unto  him. 

We  have  here  the  stoiy  of  a  famous  duel,  fought 
hand  to  hand,  between  Michael  and  the  dragon,  the 
Seed  of  the  woman  and  the  seed  of  the  serpent,  nay, 
the  serpent  himself,  in  which  the  Seed  of  the  woman 
suffers,  being  lem/tted,  and  so  has  his  heel  bniised  ; 
but  the  serpent  is  quite  baffled  in  his  temptations, 
and  so  has  his  head  broken  ;  and  our  Lord  Jesus 
comes  off  a  Conqueror,  and  so  secures  not  only  com- 
fort, but  conquest  at  last,  to  all  his  faithful  followers. 
Concerning  Christ's  temptation,  observe, 

1.  Tlie  time  when  it  happened  :  T/ien  ;  there  is  an 
emphasis  laid  upon  that.  Immediately  after  l/ie 
heavens  'mere  opened  to  him,  and  the  Spirit  descend- 
ed on  him,  and  he  was  declared  to  be  the  Son  of 
God,  and  the  Saviour  of  the  world,  the  next  news 
we  hear  of  him  is,  he  is  tempted  ;  for  then  he  is  l)est 
able  to  gi-apple  with  the  temptation.  Note,  1.  Great 
privileges,  and  special  tokens  of  divine  favour  will 
not  secure  us  from  being  tempted.  Nav,  2.  After 
gi-eat  lionours  put  upon  us,  we  must  expect  some- 
thing that  is  humbling  ;  as  Paul  had  a  messenger  of 
Satan  sent  to  buffet  him,  after  he  had  been  in  the 
third  heavens.  3.  God  usually  prepares  his  people 
for  temptation  before  he  calls  them  to  it ;  he  gives 
strength  according  to  the  day,  and,  before  a  sharp 
trial,  gives  more  than  ordinary  comfort.  4.  The 
assurance  of  our  sonship  is  the  best  preparative  for 
temptation.  If  the  good  Spirit  witness  to  our  adop- 
tion, tliat  will  fumisli  us  with  an  answer  to  all  the 
suggestions  of  the  evil  spirit,  designed  either  to  de- 
bauch or  disquiet  us. 

Then,  when  he  was  newly  come  from  a  solemn 
ordinance,  when  he  was  baptized,  then  he  was  tempt- 
ed. Xote,  After  we  have  been  admitted  into  com- 
muriioB  with  God,  we  must  expect  to  be  set  upon  by 
Satan.  The  enriclied  soul  must  double  its  guard. 
men  thou  hast  eaten  and  art  full,  then  bevjare. 
Then,  when  he  began  to  shew  himself  publicly  to 
Israel,  theit  he  was  tempted,  so  as  he  never  had  been 
while  he  lived  in  privacy.  Note,  The  Devil  has  a 
particular  ^ite  at  useful  persons,  who  are  not  onlv 
good,  but  gpven  to  do  good,  especially  at  their  first 
■setting  out.  It  is  the  advice  of  the  Son  of  Sirach, 
(Ecclesiastic.  2.  1.)  My  son,  if  thou  come  to  serve 
the  Lord,  prejiare  thyself  for  temptation.  Let  young 
ministers  know  what  to  expect,  and  arm  accord- 
ingly. 

TI.  The  place  where  it  was  ;  in  the  wilderness ; 
probably  in  the  great  wilderness  of  Sinai,  where 
jVloses  and  YX^ah  fOfSted  forty  days,  for  no  part  of  the 
wUdemesi-  of  Judca  was  so  abandoned  to  wild  beasts 


as  this  is  said  to  have  been,  Mark  1.  13.  When 
Christ  was  baptized  he  did  not  go  to  Jerusalem, 
there  to  publish  the  glories  that  had  been  put  upoT- 
him,  but  retired  into  a  wilderness.  After  commu- 
nion with  God,  it  is  good  to  be  private  a  while,  lest 
we  lose  what  we  have  received,  in  the  crowd  and 
hurry  of  worldly  business.  Christ  withdrew  into 
the  wilderness,  1.  To  gain  advantage  to  himseli. 
Retirement  gives  an  opportunity  for  meditation  and 
communion  with  God  ;  even  they  who  are  called  to 
the  most  active  life  must  yet  have  their  contennjla- 
tive  hours,  and  must  find  time  to  be  .alone  with  God. 
Those  are  not  fit  to  speak  of  the  things  of  God  in 
public  to  others,  who  have  not  first  conversed  with 
those  things  in  secret  by  themselves.  Wlien  Christ 
would  appear  as  a  Teacher  come  from  God,  it  shall 
not  be  said  of  him,  "He  is  newly  come  from  travel- 
ling, he  has  been  abroad,  and  has  seen  the  world ;" 
but,  "  He  is  newly  come  out  of  a  desert,  he  has  been 
alone  conversing  with  God  and  his  own  heart. "  2. 
To  give  advantage  to  the  tempter,  that  he  might 
have  a  readier  access  to  him  than  he  could  have  had 
in  company.  Note,  Though  solitude  is  a  friend  to 
a  good  heart,  yet  Satan  knows  how  to  improve  it 
against  us.  Woe  to  him  that  is  alone.  Those  who, 
under  pretence  of  sanctity  and  devotion,  retire  into 
dens  and  deserts,  find  that  they  are  not  out  of  the 
reach  of  their  spiritual  enemies,  and  that  there  they 
Avant  the  benefit  of  the  communion  of  saints.  Christ 
retired,  (1.)  That  Satan  might  have  leave  to  do  his 
worst  To  make  his  victorv  the  more  illustrious,  he 
gave  the  enemv  sun  and  wind  on  his  side,  and  yet 
IjafRed  him.  He  might  give  the  Devil  advantage, 
for  the  prince  of  this  world  had  nothing  in  him  ;  but 
he  has  in  us,  and  therefore  we  must  pray  not  to  be 
led  into  temptation,  and  must  keep  out  of  harm's 
way.  (2.)  Tliat  he  might  have  opportunity  to  do 
his  best  himself,  that  he  might  be  exalted  in  his  own 
strength ;  for  so  it  was  written,  /  have  trod  the  wine- 
press alone,  and  of  the  people  there  was  none  willi 
me.     Christ  entered  the  lists  without  a  second. 

III.  The  preparatives  for  it,  which  were  two. 

1.  He  w^as  directed  to  the  combat  ;  he  did  not 
wilfuUv  thrust  himself  upon  it,  but  he  was  led  up 
of  the  Spirit  to  be  tempted  of  the  Devil.  Tlie  Spirit 
that  descended  upon  him  like  a  dove  made  him  meek, 
and  yet  made  him  bold.  Note,  Our  care  must  be, 
not  to  enter  into  temptation  ;  but  if  God,  by  his  pro- 
vidence, order  us  into  circumstances  of  temptation 
for  our  trial,  we  must  not  think  it  strange,  but  double 
our  guard.  Be  strong  in  the  Lord,  resist  steadfabt  in 
the  faith,  and  all  shall  be  well.  If  we  presume  upon 
our  own  strength,  and  tempt  the  Aey'A  to  tempt  us, 
we  provoke  God  to  lea^•e  us  to  ourselves  ;  but,  whi- 
tliersoever  God  le.ads  us,  we  may  hope  he  will  go 
along  witli  us,  and  bring  us  off  more  than  conquerors. 

Christ  was  led,  to  be  tempted  of  the  Devil,  and 
of  him  onlv.  Others  are  tempted,  lahen  they  are 
drawn  aside  of  their  own  lust,  and  enticed ;  (Jam.  1. 
14. )  the  Devil  takes  hold  of  that  handle,  and  ploughs 
with  that  heifer :  but  our  Lord  Jesus  had  no  contipt 
nature,  and  therefore  he  was  led  securely,  w  ithout 
any  fear  or  trembling,  as  a  champion  into'  the  field, 
to  be  temfited  purely  l^y  the  Devil. 

Now  Christ's  temptation  is,  (1.)  An  instance  of  his 
o^vn  condescension  and  humiliation.  Temptations 
wee  fiery  darts,  thorns  in  the  ^flesh,  bujfetings,  lift- 
ings, wrestlings,  combats,  all  which  denote  hardship 
and  suffering ;  therefore  Christ  submitted  to  them, 
because  he  would  humble  himself,  in  all  things  to 
be  made  like  unto  his  brethren  ;  thus  he  gax'e  his 
back  to  the  s?niters.  (2.)  An  occasion  of  Satan's 
confusion.  There  is  no  conquest  without  a  combat. 
Christ  was  tempted,  that  he  might  overcome  the 
tempter.  Satan  tempted  the  first  Adam,  and  tri- 
umphed over  him  ;  but  he  shall  not  always  triumph, 
the  second  Adam  shall  overcome  him.  and  lead 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IV. 


35 


cafitiviti!  cafilhtc  (3.)  Matter  of  comfort  to  all  the 
saints.  In  the  temptation  of  Clirist  it  apjjears,  that 
our  enemy  is  subtle,  spiteful,  and  very  danng  in  his 
temptations ;  but  it  appcare  withal,  that  he  is  not 
invincible.  Though  he  is  a  strong  man  armed,  yet 
the  Captain  of  our  salvation  is  stronger  than  he.  It 
is  some  comfort  to  us  to  think  that  Christ  suffered, 
being  temfited;  for  thus  it  appeai-s  that  tem])tations, 
if  not  yielded  to,  are  not  sins,  thcv  arc  afflictions 
only,  aiid  such  as  may  be  the  lot  of  tliose  with  w  hom  [ 
Goil  is  well-pleased. '  And  we  ha^e  a  High-Priest 
who  kuQws,  by  experience,  what  it  is  to  be  temfited, 
and  who  therefore  is  the  more  tenderly  touched  ivith 
the  feeling  of  oitr  injirmitiesm  an  ho\u-  of  temptation, 
Hcb.  2.  18. — !.  15.  But  it  is  much  more  a  comfort 
to  think  that  Christ  conquered,  being  tem/ited,  and 
conquered  for  us  ;  not  only  that  the  enemy  we  .grap- 
ple with  is  a  conquered,  baffled,  disarmed  enemy,  but 
that  we  are  interested  in  Christ's  victory  over  him, 
and  through  him  are  more  than  conquerors. 

2.  He  was  dieted  for  the  combat,  as  wrestlers, 
who  are  tem/ierate  in  all  things ;  (1  Cor.  9.  25.)  but 
Christ  beyond  any  other,  for  he  fasted  forty  dai/s 
and  forty  nights,  m  compliance  witri  the  tj'pc  and 
example  of  Moses  the  great  law-giver,  ;md  of  Elias 
the  great  reformer,  of  the  Old  Testament.  John 
Baptist  came  as  Elias,  in  those  things  that  were 
mond,  but  not  in  such  things  as  were  miraculo\is  ; 
(John  10.  41.)  that  honour  was  reserved  for  Christ. 
Christ  needed  not  to  fast  for  mortification  ;  (he  had 
no  cornipt  desirestobe  subdued  ;)  yet  he  fasted,  (1.) 
That  herein  he  might  humble  himself,  and  might 
seem  as  one  abandoned,  -.vhom  no  man  seekelh  after. 
(2. )  That  he  might  give  Satan  both  occasion  and 
advantage  against  him ;  and  so  make  his  victoiy 
over  him  the  more  illustrious.  (3. )  That  he  might 
sanctify  and  recommend  fasting  to  us,  when  God  in 
his  pro\-idencc  calls  to  it,  or  when  we  are  reduced 
to  straits,  and  are  destitute  of  daily  food,  or  when  it 
is  requisite  for  the  keeping  under  of  the  body  or  the 

?|uickening  of  praver,  those  excellent  preparatives 
or  temptation.  If  good  people  ai-e  Ijrought  low,  if 
they  want  friends  and  succours,  this  ma)-  comfort 
them,  that  their  Master  himself  was  in  like  manner 
exercised.  A  man  may  want  bread,  and  yet  be  a 
favourite  of  heaven,  and  under  the  conduct  of  the 
Spirit.  The  reference  which  the  Papists  make  of 
their  lent-fast  to  this  fasting  of  Christ  forty  days,  is 
a  piece  of  fopper\-  and  superstition  w'liich  the  law 
of  our  land  witnesses  against,  Stat.  5.  Eliz.  chap.  v. 
sect.  39,  40.  When  he  had  fasted  forty  days,  he  ivas 
I    never  hungry  ;  con\erse  with  heaven  was  instead  of 

}nieat  and  drink  to  him,  but  he  iras  aftemimrd  an 
hiingred,  to  shew  that  he  was  really  and  tndy  Man  ; 
and  he  took  upon  him  our  natural  infii-mities,  that 
he  might  atone  for  us.  Man  fell  by  eating,  and  that 
way  we  often  sin,  and  therefore  Cfirist  ivas  an  hun- 
gred. 

IV.  The  temptations  themselves.  That  which 
Satan  aimed  at,  in  all  his  temptations,  was,  to  bring 
him  to  sin  against  God,  and  so  to  render  him  for 
ever  incapable  of  being  a  Sacrifice  for  the  sin  of 
others.  Now,  ^vhatever  the  colours  were,  that  which 
he  aimed  at  was,  to  bring  him,  1.  To  despair  of  his 
Father's  goodness.  2.  To  presume  upon  his  Father's 
power.  3.  To  alienate  his  Father's  honour,  by  giving 
it  to  Satan.  In  the  two  former,  that  which  he  tempt- 
ed him  to,  seemed  innocent,  and  therein  appeared 
the  subtiltv  of  the  tempter  ;  in  the  last,  that  which 
he  tempted  him  r.<ith,  seemed  desirable.  The  two 
former  arc  artful  temptations,  which  there  was  need 
of  great  wisdom  to  discern ;  the  last  was  a  strong 
lem])tation,  which  there  was  need  of  great  resolution 
t'.  resist  ;  yet  he  was  baffled  in  them  all. 

1.  He  tempted  him  to  despair  of  his  Father's 
rooclness,  nnd  to  distnist  his  Father's  care  concem- 
ng  him. 


(1.)  See  how  the  temptation  was  managed  ;  (t.  3.) 
llie  teni/iter  came  to  him.  Note,  The  Devil  is  Mc 
tempter,  and  therefore  he  is  ^'utan—an  adversary  ; 
for  those  are  our  worst  enemies,  that  entice  us  to 
sin,  and  are  Satan's  agents,  are  doing  his  work,  and 
cariTing  on  his  designs.  He  is  called  emphatically 
the  tcmfUer,  because  he  was  so  to  cur  first  parents, 
:md  still  is  so,  and  all  other  tempters  are  set  on  work 
by  him.  'J'he  tempter  came  to  Christ  in  a  visible 
appearance,  not  terrible  and  affrighting,  as  after- 
wanl  in  his  agony  in  the  garden ;  no,  if  e\  er  the 
Devil  tranfformed  himself  into  an  angel  of  light,  he 
did  it  now,  and  pretended  to  be  a  goocl  genius,  a 
guardian  angel. 

Observe  the  subtilty  of  the  temfttrr,  in  joining  this 
first  temptation  with  what  went  before,  to  make  it 
the  stronger.     [1.]  Christ  began  to  be  hungry,  and 
therefore  the  motion  seemed  \cry  proper,  to  tuni 
stones  into  bread  for  his  necessai-y  support.     Note, 
It  is  one  of  the  wiles  of  Satan  to  take  advimtage  of 
our  outward  condition,  in  that  to  plant  the  batteiy 
of  his  temptations.  He  is  an  adversary  no  less  watch- 
ful than  spiteful ;  and  the  more  ingenious  he  is  to 
take  advantage  against  us,  the  more  inijustricus  we 
must  be  to  gi^e  him  none.     When  he  began  to  be 
hungiT,  and  that  in  a  ivildej-ncss,  where  there  was 
nothing  to  be  had,  then  the  Devil  assaulted  him. 
Note,  \\'^ant  and  poverty  are  a  gi-eat  temptation  to 
discontent  and  unlielief,  and  the  use  of  unlawful 
means  for  our  relief,  under  pretence  that  necessity 
has  no  law  ;  and  it  is  excused  with  this,  that  hunger 
will  break  through  stone-walls,  which  yet  is  no  ex- 
cuse, for  the  law  of  God  ought  to  be  stronger  to  us 
than  stone-walls.     Ag\ir  prays  against  poverty,  not 
because  it  is  an  affliction  and  reproach,  but  because 
it  is  a  temptation  ;  lest  I  be  poor,  and  steal.     Those 
therefore  who  are  reduced  to  straits,  hav^  need  to 
double  their  guard  ;  it  is  better  to  star\  e  to  death, 
than  live  and  thri\-e  by  sin.     [2.]  Christ  was  lately 
declared  to  be  the  Son  of  God,  and  here  the  Devil 
tempts  him  to  doubt  of  that ;  Jf  thou  be  the  Son  of 
God.     Had  not  the  Devil  known  that  the  Son  of 
God  was  to  come  into  the  world,  he  would  not  have 
said  this  ;  and  had  he  not  suspected  that  this  was  he, 
he  w'ould  not  have  said  it  to  him,  nor  durst  he  have 
said  it,  if  Christ  had  not  now  drawn  a  veil  over  his 
gloiT,  and  if  the  Devil  had  not  now  put  on  an  impu- 
dent face. 

First,  "Thou  hast  now  an  occasion  to  question 
whether  thou  be  the  Son  of  God  or  no  ;  for  can  it  be, 
that  the  Son  of  God,  who  is  fieir  of  all  things,  should 
be  reduced  to  such  straits  }  If  God  were  th\-  Father, 
he  would  not  see  thee  stai-ve,  for  all  the  beasts  of  the 
forest  are  his,  Ps,  50.  10,  12,  It  is  true,  there  was 
a  voice  from  heaven.  This  is  my  beloved  Son,  but 
surely  it  was  delusion,  and  thou  wast  imposed  upon 
by  it  ;  for  either  God  is  not  thy  Father,  or  he  is  a 
yen-  unkind  one."  Note,  1.  The  great  thing  Satan 
aim's  at,  in  tempting  good  peoijle,  is,  to  overthrow 
their  i-elation  to  God  as  a  Father,  and  so  to  cut  off 
their  dependence  on  him,  their  duty  to  him,  and 
tlieir  communion  with  him.  The  good  Spirit,  as  the 
Comforter  of  the  brethren,  witnesses  that  they  are 
the  children  of  God ;  the  evil  spirit,  as  the  accuser 
'  of  the  brethren,  dees  all  he  can  to  shake  that  testi- 
mony. 2.  Outward  afflictions,  wants  and  burdens, 
arc  the  gixat  arguments  Satan  uses  to  make  the 
people  of  God  question  their  sonship  ;  as  if  afflic- 
tions could  not  consist  with,  when  really  they  pro- 
ceed from,  God's  fatherly  love.  They  know  how  to 
answer  this  temptation,  who  can  say,  with  holy  Job, 
Though  he  Slav  me,  though  he  star\e  me,  yet  tvitt  I 
trust  in  him,  and  love  him  as  a  Friend,  even  when 
he  seems  to  come  forth  against  me  as  an  Enemy. 
3.  The  Devil  ayns  to  shake  rur  faith  in  the  word 
of  God,  and  bring  us  to  ciuestinn  the  truth  of  that. 
Thus  he  began  w  ith  our  first  parents  ;  Yea,  has  Ged 


S6 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IV. 


taid  so  and  so  ?  Surely  lie  has  not.  So  here,  Has 
God  said  that  thou  art  his  betox'ed  So7i  ?  Surely  he 
did  not  say  so ;  or  if  he  did,  it  is  not  ti-ue.  We 
then  gh'e  place  In  the  Dez'i/,  wlien  we  question  the 
truth  of  any  word  that  God  has  spoken ;  for  his 
business,  as  the  father  of  lies,  is  to  oppose  the  tiiie 
saymgo  or  ood.  4.  The  Devil  carries  on  his  dcsii^s 
veiy  much  by  possessing  people  with  hard  thoughts 
of  God,  as  if  he  were  unknid,  or  unfaithful,  and  had 
forsaken  or  foi'gotten  those  who  ]\axe  \  entured  their 
all  with  him.  He  endeavoured  to  beget  in  our  first, 
parents  a  notion  that  God  forbade  them  the  tree  of 
knowledge,  because  he  grudged  them  the  benefit  of 
it ;  and  so  here  he  insinuates  to  our  Saviour,  that  his 
Father  had  cast  him  off,  and  left  him  to  shift  for 
himself.  But  see  how  unreasonable  this  suggestion 
was,  and  how  easily  answered.  If  Christ  seemed 
to  be  a  mere  Man  now,  because  he  was  hungi-y, 
why  was  he  not  confessed  to  be  more  than  a  Man, 
even  t/ie  Son  of  God,  when  {or  forty  days  he  fasted, 
and  was  not  hungiy  ? 

Secondly,  "Thou  hast  now  an  opportunity  to 
shew  that  thou  ait  the  Son  of  God.  If  thou  art  the 
Son  of  God,  prove  it  by  tKis,  command  that  these 
stones"  (a  lieaj)  of  which,  probably,  lay  now  before 
him,)  "be  made  bread,  v.  3.  John  Baptist  said  but 
the  other  day,  that  God  can,  out  of  stones,  raise  iiji 
children  to  Abraham  ;  a  divine  power  therefore  can, 
110  doubt,  out  of  stones,  make  bread  for  those  chil- 
dren ;  if  therefore  thou  hast  that  power,  exert  it 
now  in  a  time  of  need  for  thyself."  He  does  not 
say.  Pray  to  thy  Father  that  he  would  turn  them 
into  bread,  but  cojnmand  it  to  be  done  ;  tliv  Father 
hath  forsaken  thee,  set  up  for  thyself,  and  be  not 
obliged  to  him.  The  Devil  is  for  nothing  that  is 
humbling,  but  every  thing  that  is  assuming ;  and 
gains  his  point,  if  he  can  but  liring  men  off  from 
their  dependence  upon  God,  and  possess  them  with 
an  opiniftn  of  their  self-sufficiency. 

(2.)  See  how  this  temptation  was  resisted  and 
overcome. 

[1.]  Christ  refused  to  comply  with  it.  He  would 
not  command  these  stones  to  be  made  bread ;  not  be- 
cause he  could  not ;  his  power,  which  scon  after 
this,  turned  water  into  wine,  could  have  turned  stones 
into  bread ;  but  he  would  not.  And  whv  would  lie 
not  ?  At  fir.st  view,  the  thing  appears  justifiable 
enough,  and  the  tnith  is.  The  more  plausible  a 
tempt.ation  is,  and  the  greater  appearance  there  is 
of  good  in  it,  the  mnre  dangerous  it  is.  This  matter 
would  bear  a  dispute,  but  Christ  was  soon  aware  cf 
the  snake  in  the  grass,  and  would  not  do  any  thing, 
J-lrst,  That  looked  like  questioning  the  truth  of  the 
volce  he  heard  from  hea\'en,  or  putting  that  upon  a 
new  trial  which  was  alreadv  settled.  Secondlii,  That 
looked  like  distrusting  his  Father's  care  of  him,  or 
limiting  him  to  one  ]iarticular  way  cf  providing  for 
him.  Thirdly,  That  looked  like  setting  up  for  him- 
self, and  1)eing  his  own  carver  ;  or,  Fourihhi,  That 
looked  like  gratifying  Satan,  bv  doing  a  tiling  at  his 
motion.  Some  v/ould  ha\-e  said.  To  give  the  Devil 
his  due,  this  was  good  counsel ;  but  for  those  who 
nvait  nfton  God,  to  consult  him,  is  more  than  his  due  ; 
it  is  like  inquiring  of  the  god  of  Ekron,  wheii  there 
is  a  God  in  Israel. 

[2.]  He  was  readv  to  reply  to  it  ;  {v.  4.)  He 
ansTvered,  and  said,  It  is  written.  This  is  observa- 
ble, that  Christ  answered  and  baffled  all  the  temp- 
tations of  Satan  with,  //  is  written.  He  is  himself 
the  eternal  Word,  and  could  have  prrduced  the 
mmdof  God  without  ha-v'ing  recourse  to  the  writings 
of  Moses  ;  but  he  pat  honour  upon  the  scripture, 
and,  to  set  us  an  example,  he  appealed  to  what  was 
written  in  the  law  ;  and  he  says  this  to  Satan,  taking 
it  for  granted  that  he  knew  well  enough  what  was 
v/ritten.  It  is  possible  that  these  who  are  the  Devil's 
*iij]di-cn  may  vet  know  v'cry  well  what  is  written  in 


God's  Iiook  ;  The  dexuls  believe,  and  tremble.  This 
method  we  must  take  when  at  any  time  we  are 
tempted  to  sin ;  resist  and  repel  the  temptation  with, 
It  is  written.  The  word  of  God  is  the  sword  of  the 
S/iirit,  the  only  offensive  weapon  in  all  the  christiim 
armoury;  (Eph.  6.  IT.)  and  we  may  say  of  it  as 
David  of  Goliath's  sword,  7io?ie  is  like  that  in  our  spi- 
ritual conflicts. 

This  answer,  as  all  the  rest,  is  taken  out  of  the 
book  of  Deuteronomy,  which  signifies  the  second 
law,  and  in  which  there  is  very  little  ceremonial ; 
the  Leiitical  sacrifices  and  purifications  could  not 
drive  away  Satan,  though  of  divine  institution,  much 
less  holy  water  and  the  sign  of  the  cross,  which  are 
of  human  invention  ;  but  moral  precepts  and  evan- 
gelical promises,  mixed  with  faith,  these  are  mighty, 
through  God,  for  the  vanquishing  of  Satan.  This 
is  here  quoted  from  Deut.  8.  3.  where  the  reason 
given  why  God  fed  the  Israelites  with  manna,  is, 
because  he  would  teach  them  that  man  shall  not 
live  by  bread  alone.  This  Christ  applies  to  his  own 
case.  Israel  was  God's  son,  whom  he  called  out  of 
Egijpt,  (Hos.  11.  1.)  so  was  Christ  ;  {ch.  2.  \S  \ 
Israel  was  then  in  a  wilderness,  Christ  was  so  now ., 
perhaps  the  same  wilderness.  Now,  First,  Thi. 
Devil  would  have  him  question  his  sonship,  because 
he  was  in  straits  ;  no,  says  he,  Israel  was  God's  son, 
and  a  son  he  was  very  tender  of,  and  wliose  manners 
he  bore  ;  (Acts  13.  18.)  and  yet  he  brought  them 
into  straits  ;  and  it  follows  there,  (Deut.  S.  5.)  jis  a 
man  chasleneth  his  son,  so  the  Lord  thy  God  chaster.- 
eth  thee.  Christ,  being  a  Son,  thus  learns  obedience. 
Secondly,  The  Devil  would  have  him  distnist  his 
Father's  love  and  care.  "No,"  says  he,  "thai 
would  be  to  do  as  Israel  did,  who,  when  they  were 
in  want,  said,  Is  the  lord  among  us  7  ar.d.  Can  he 
furnish  a  table  in  the  wilderness  ?  Caii  he  give 
bread?"  Thirdly,  The  Devil  wculd  have  him,  as 
soon  as  he  began  to  be  hungry,  immediately  look 
cut  fcr  supply  ;  whereas  God,  for  wi;e  .'.nd  hc!y 
ends,  suffered  Israel  to  hunger  before  he  fed  them. ; 
to  humble  them,  and  prove  them.  God  will  have 
his  children,  when  they  want,  net  only  to  wait  on 
him,  but  to  wait  for  him.  Fourthly,  The  Devil 
wfuld  have  him  to  supply  himself  with  bread. 
"  No,"  savs  Christ,  "what  need  is  there  of  that.' 
It  is  a  point  long  since  settled,  and  inccntestably 
proved,  that  man  mav  live  without  bread,  as  Israel 
in  the  wilderness  lived  forty  years  upon  manna." 
It  is  ti-uc,  God,  in  his  providence,  ordin;irily  main- 
tains men  bv  bread  out  of  the  earth  ;  (Jcb  28.  5.) 
but  he  can,  if  he  jjleases,  make  use  of  other  means 
^  to  keep  men  alive  ;  atiy  word  proceeding  out  cf  the 
j  mouth  of  God,  any  thing  that  God  shall  n  der  and 
appoint  for  that  end,  will  be  as  good  a  livelihood  for 
man  as  bread,  and  will  maintain  him  as  well.  As 
we  mav  have  bread,  and  yet  not  be  ncuritlied,  if 
God  deny  his  blessing,  (Hal'-.  1.  6,  9.  Mir.  6.  14.  for 
tnc-ugh  bread  is  the  staff  of  life,  it  is  God's  blessing 
that  is  the  staff  of  bread,)  so  we  may  "H'oyit  bread, 
and  let  be  nourished  some  ether  way.  Gcd  sus- 
tained IMoses  and  Elias  without  bread,  and  Christ 
himself  just  now  for  forty  days  ;  he  sustained  Israel 
with  liread  from  heaven,  angels'  focd  ;  Elijah  with 
bread  sent  miraculously  by  ravens,  and  aiicther  time 
with  the  widow's  meal  miraculously  multiplied  ; 
therefore  Christ  need  not  turn  stones  into  Ijread,  ^"t 
trust  God  to  keep  liim  alive  seme  other  way  no-- 
j  that  he  is  hungrv",  as  he  had  done  forty  days  befcrt 
he  hungered.  Note,  As  in  our  greatest  abundance 
we  must  not  think  to  live  withovt  Gcd,  so  in  out 
greatest  straits  we  must  learn  to  live  j'/ion  Gcd  ;  and 
when  the  ^fig-tree  does  not  blossom,  and  the  Jield 
yields  no  meat,  when  all  ordinary  means  cf  succour 
and  support  are  cut  off,  yet  then  we  must  rejoice  in 
the  Lord ;  then  we  must  not  think  to  command  what 
we  will,  though  contrary  to  his  command,  but  must 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IV. 


37 


li'imbly  pray  for  what  he  thinks  fit  to  give  us,  and  ' 
be  thankfiil  for  the  bread  of  our  allowance,  though 
it  be  a  short  allowance.  Let  us  learn  of  Christ  here 
to  be  at  Ciod's  finding,  rather  than  at  our  own  ;  and 
not  to  take  any  irregular  courees  for  our  supply, 
when  our  wants  arc  ever  so  pressing.  (Ps.  37.  3.^ 
Jchox'ah-jireh ;  some  wa\'  or  other  the  Lord  will 
/irovide.  It  is  better  to  live  poorly  ui)on  the  fruits 
of  God's  goodness,  than  live  plehtiiuUy  upon  the 
products  of  our  own  sin. 

2.  He  tempted  him  to  presume  u]5on  his  Father's 
power  and  protection  !  See  what  a  restless  unwea- 
ried adversaiy  the  Devil  is  !  If  he  tail  in  one  assault, 
he  tries  another. 
Now  in  this  second  attempt  we  may  observe, 
(1.)  \\'hat  the  temptation  was,  and  how  it  was 
managed.  In  general,  finding  Christ  so  confident 
of  his  Father's  care  of  him,  in  point  of  nourishment, 
ht  endeavours  to  draw  him  to  ]5rcsume  upon  that 
care,  in  point  of  safet)-.  Note,  \\'c  are  in  danger 
of  missing  our  way,  both  on  the  right  hand  and  on 
the  left,  and  therefore  must  take  heed,  lest,  when 
we  avoid  one  extreme,  we  be  brought  by  the  arti- 
fices of  Satan,  to  run  into  another ;  lest,  by  over- 
coming oiu"  prodigality,  we  fall  into  covetousncss. 
Nor  are  any  extremes  more  dangerous  tlum  those 
of  despair  and  presumption,  es])ccially  in  the  affairs 
of  our  souls.  Some  who  have  obtained  a  iiersuasion 
that  Christ  is  able  and  willing  to  save  them  from 
their  sins,  are  then  tempted  to  presume  that  he  will 
save  them  in  their  sins.  Thus  when  peo])le  begin 
to  be  zcaloiis  in  religion,  Satan  hurries  them  into 
bigotrv  and  intemperate  heats. 
Now  in  his  tcm])tation  we  may  obsen'e, 
[1.]  How  he  made  way  for  it.  He  took  Christ, 
not  by  force  and  against  his  will,  but  moved  him  to 
go,  and  went  along  with  him,  to  Jei-usalem.  \\"he- 
ther  Christ  went  upon  the  ground,  and  so  went  up 
the  stairs  to  the  top  of  the  temple,  or  whether  he 
went  in  the  aii-,  is  uncertain  ;  but  so  it  was,  that  he 
was  set  u/ion  a  pinnacle,  or  spire  ;  vft07i  the  Jcme, 
(so  some,)  ujion  the  battlements,  (so  others.)  upon 
the  'd'init,  (so  the  word  is,)  of  the  temple.  Now  ob- 
serve. First,  How  submissive  Christ  was,  in  suffering 
himself  to  be  hurried  thus,  that  he  misht  let  Satan 
do  his  worst,  and  yet  conquer  him.  The  patience 
of  Christ  here,  as  afterward  in  his  suffcruigs  and 
death,  is  more  wonderful  than  the  power  of  Satan 
or  his  instruments ;  for  neither  he  nor  they  could 
have  any  power  against  Christ  but  nvhat  was  g'iz'ej! 
them  from  above.  How  comfortable  is  it,  that 
Christ,  who  let  loose  this  power  of  Satan  against 
himself,  docs  not  in  like  manner  let  it  loose  against 
us,  biit  resti-ains  it,  for  he  /cnows  our  frame .'  Se- 
condlv.  How  subtle  the  Devil  was,  in  the  choice  of 
the  place  for  his  temptations.  Intending  to  solicit 
Christ  to  an  ostentation  of  his  own  power,  and  a 
vain-glorious  presumption  upon  God's  providence, 
he  fixes  him  on  apul)lic  place  in  Jerusalem,  a  popu- 
lous city,  and  Ihejoii  of  the  whole  earth  ;  in  the  tem- 
ple, one  of  the  wonders  of  the  world,  continuallv 
gazed  upon  with  admir-ation  by  some  one  or  other. 
There  he  might  make  himself  remarkable,  and  be 
taken  notice  of  by  even'  body,  and  prove  himself 
the  Son  of  God ;  not,  as  he  was  urged  in  the  former 
temptation,  in  the  obscurities  of  a  wilderness,  but 
before  multitudes,  upon  the  most  eminent  stage  of 
action. 

Obsen'e,  1.  That  Jerasalem  is  here  called  the 
holy  city  ;  for  so  it  was  in  name  and  profession,  and 
there  was  in  it  a  holy  seed,  that  was  the  substance 
thereof  Note,  There  is  no  city  on  earth  so  holv  as 
to  exempt  and  secure  us  from  the  Devil  and  his 
temptations.  The  first  .idatn  was  tempted  in  the 
holy  (garden,  the  second  in  the  holy  city.  Let  us 
not,  therefore,  in  any  place,  be  off  our  watch.  Nav, 
"<c  holy  city  is  the  place  where  he  does,  with  the 


greatest  advantage  and  success,  tempt  men  to  pride 
and  presumption  ;  but,  blessed  be  God,  into  the  Je- 
nisalem  above,  that  holv  city,  no  unclean  thing 
shall  enter  ;  there  we  shall  be  for  ever  out  of  temp- 
tiition.  2.  That  he  set  him  upon  a  pinnacle  of  the 
temple,  which  (as  Joscphus  describes  it,  Antiq.  lib. 
XV.  cap.  M.)  was  so  very  high,  that  it  would  niiike 
a  m;ui's  head  giddy  to  look  down  to  the  bottom. 
Note,  Pinnacles  of  the  tcm])le  are  places  of  temp- 
tation ;  I  mean,  (I.)  High  ])laccs  arc  so ;  they  are 
slippery  places ;  advancement  in  the  world  makes 
a  man  a  fair  mark  for  Satan  to  shoot  his  fiery  darts 
at.  God  casts  down,  that  he  may  raise  up ;  the 
Devil  raises  up,  that  lie  may  cast  ilown  :  therefore 
they  who  wculd  t;die  heed  of  falling,  must  take  heed 
of  climbing.  (2.)  High  places  in  the  church  are,  in 
a  special  manner,  dangertms.  They  who  excel  in 
gifts,  who  are  in  eminent  stations,  and  have  gained 
gi-eat  reputation,  have  need  to  keep  humble  ;  for 
Satan  will  be  sure  to  aim  at  them,  to  puff  them  up 
with  pride,  that  they  may  fall  into  the  condemnation 
of  the  Divil.  Those  that  stand  high  are  concerned 
to  standfast. 

[2.]  How  he  moved  it ;  "If  thou  be  the  Son  of 
God,  now  show  thyself  to  the  world,  and  prove  thy- 
self to  be  so  ;  casi  thyself  down,  and  then,"  Jhirst, 
"Thou  wilt  be  .admired,  as  under  the  special  Jiro- 
tection  of  Hca-ven.  ^^"hen  they  see  thee  receive  no 
hurt  1)y  a  fall  from  such  a  precipice,  they  will  say" 
(as  the  barbarous  people  did  cf  Paul)  "that  thou 
art  a  God."  Tradition  says,  that  Simon  Magus  by 
this  very  thing  attempted  to  pro\e  himself  a  %oA, 
but  that  his  pretensions  were  disproved,  for  he  fell 
down,  and  was  miserably  biniised.  "  Nay,"  Se- 
condly. "  Thou  wilt  be  received,  as  coming  with  a 
special  cojtimission  from  Heaveti.  All  Jerusalem 
will  see  and  acknowdedge,  not  only  that  thou  art 
more  than  a  man,  but  that  thou  art  that  Alessenger, 
that  Angel  of  the  covenant,  that  should  suddenly 
come  to  the  temple,  (Mai.  3.  1.)  and  from  thence  de- 
scend into  the  streets  of  the  holv  city  ;  and  thus  the 
work  of  convincing  the  Jews  will  be  cut  short,  and 
scon  done. " 

Observe,  The  Devil  said.  Cast  thyself  down. 
The  Devil  could  not  cast  him  down,  though  a  little 
thing  would  ha\e  done  it,  from  the  top  of  a  spire. 
Note,  The  power  of  Satan  is  a  limited  power  ;  hith- 
erto he  shall  come,  and  no  further.  Yet,  if  the  Devil 
had  cast  him  down,  he  had  not  gained  his  point ;  that 
had  been  his  suffering  only,  not  his  sin.  Note, 
Whatever  real  mischief  is  done  us,  it  is  of  our  onvn 
doing ;  the  De\  il  can  but  persuade,  he  cannot  com- 
pel ;  he  can  but  say,  Cast  thyself  down  ;  he  cannot 
cast  us  down.  Every  man  is  tempted,  when  he  is 
drawn  away  of  his  own  lust,  and  not  forced,  but 
enticed.  Therefore  let  us  not  hurt  ourselves,  and 
then,  blessed  be  God,  no  one  else  can  hurt  us,  Prov. 
9.  12. 

[3.]  How  he  backed  this  motion  with  a  scripture  ; 
For  it  is  written.  He  shall  give  his  angels  charge  con- 
cerning thee.  But  is  Saul  also  among  the  prophets  ? 
Is  Satan  so  well  versed  in  scripture,  as  to  be  able  to 
quote  it  so  readily  ?  It  seems,  he  is.  Note,  It  is  pos- 
sible for  a  man  to  have  his  head  full  of  scripture- 
notions,  and  his  mouth  full  of  scripture-expressions, 
while  his  heart  is  full  of  reigning  enmity  to  Ciod  and 
all  goodness.  The  knowledge  which  the  devils  have 
of  the  scripture,  increases  both  their  mischievous- 
ness  and  their  torment.  Never  did  the  Devil  speak 
with  more  vexation  to  himself,  than  when  he  said 
to  Christ,  /  /enow  thee  who  thou  art.  The  Devil 
would  persuade  Christ  to  throw  himself  down,  hop- 
ing that  he  would  be  his  own  murderer,  and  that 
there  would  be  an  end  of  him  and  his  undertaking, 
which  he  looked  upon  with  a  jealous  eye  ;  to  en- 
courage him  to  do  it,  he  tells  him,  that  there  was  no 
danger,  that  the  good  angels  would  protect  him,  for 


38 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IV. 


so  was  the  promise,  (Ps.  91.  11.)    He  shall  give  his 
angels  charge  over  thee.     In  this  quotation, 

First,  There  was  something  right.  It  is  true, 
there  is  such  a  promise  of  tlie  ministration  of  the 
angels,  for  the  protection  of  the  saints.  The  Devil 
knows  it  by  experience  ;  for  he  finds  his  attempts 
against  them  fruitless,  and  he  frets  and  rages  at  it, 
as  he  did  at  the  hedge  about  Job,  which  he  speaks 
of  so  sensibly.  Job  1.  10.  He  was  also  right  m  ap- 
plyuig  it  to  Christ,  for  to  him  all  the  promises  of  the 
protection  of  the  saints  primarily  and  eminently  be- 
long, and  to  them,  in  and  through  him.  That  pro- 
mise, that  not  a  bone  of  theirs  shall  be  brolcen,  (Ps. 
34.  20.)  was  fulfilled  in  Christ,  John  19.  36.  The 
angels  guard  the  saints  for  Christ's  sake. 

Secondlij,  There  was  a  great  deal  ivrong  in  it ; 
and  perhaps  the  Devil  had  a  particular  spite  against 
this  promise,  and  perverted  it,  because  it  often  stood 
in  his  way,  and  baffled  his  mischievous  desig-ns 
against  the  saints.  See  here,  1.  How  he  misquoted 
it ;  and  that  was  bad.  The  promise  is.  They  shall 
keefi  thee  ;  but  how  .■'  In  all  thy  naays  ;  not  other- 
\vise  ;  if  we  go  out  of  our  way,  out  of  the  way  of 
our  duty,  we  forfeit  the  promise,  and  put  ourselves 
out  of  God's  protection.  Now  this  word  made 
against  the  tempter,  and  therefore  he  industriously 
left  it  out.  If  Christ  had  cast  himself  do-.i'n,  he  had 
been  out  of  his  rjay,  for  he  had  no  call  so  to  expose 
himself.  It  is  good  for  us  upon  all  occasions  to  con- 
sult the  scriptures  themselves,  and  not  to  take  things 
upon  trvist,  that  we  may  not  be  imposed  upon  by 
those  that  maim  and  mangle  the  word  of  Clod  ;  we 
must  do  as  the  noble  Bereans,  who  searched  the 
scriptures  daily.  2.  How  he  misa/i/ilied  it ;  and  that 
was  nvorse.  Scripture  is  abused  when  it  is  pressed 
to  patronize  sin  ;  and  when  men  thus  wrest  it  to 
their  own  temptation,  thev  do  it  to  their  own  de- 
struction, 2  Pet.  3.  16.  This  promise  is  firm,  and 
stands  good  ;  but  the  Devil  made  an  ill  use  of  it, 
when  lie  used  it  as  an  encouragement  to  presume 
upon  tlie  divine  care.  Note,  It  is  no  new  thing  for 
the  grace  of  God  to  be  turned  into  wantonness  ;  and 
for  men  to  take  encouragement  in  sin  from  the  dis- 
coveries of  God's  good  will  to  sinners.  But  shall  we 
continue  in  sin,  that  grace  mai/  abound ;  throw  our- 
•selves  down,  that  the  angels  may  bear  us  up  ?  God 
forbid. 

(2. )  How  Christ  overcame  this  temptation ;  he 
resisted  and  overcame  it,  as  he  did  the  former,  with, 
It  is  written.  The  Devil's  abusing  of  scripture  did 
not  prevent  Christ  from  using  it,  but  he  presently 
urges,  Deut.  6.  16.  Thou  sha'lt  not  tempt  the  Lord 
thy  God.  The  meaning  of  this  is  not.  Therefore 
thou  must  not  tempt  me  ;  but,  Therefore  I  must 
not  temfit  my  Father.  In  the  place  whence  it  is 
quoted,  it  is  in  the  plural  number.  Ye  shall  not 
iemjit ;  here  it  is  singular.  Thou  shall  not.  Note, 
We  are  then  likely  to  get  good  by  the  word  of  God, 
when  we  hear  and  receive  general  promises  as 
speaking  to  us  in  particular.  Satan  said.  It  is  writ- 
ten ;  Christ  says.  It  is  written  ;  not  that  one  scrip- 
ture contradicts  another.  God  is  one,  and  his  word 
one,  and  he  in  one  mind,  but  that  is  a  promise,  this 
is  a  precept,  and  therefore  that  is  to  be  explained 
and  applied  by  this  ;  for  scripture  is  the  best  inter- 
preter of  scripture ;  and  thev  who  prophesy,  who 
expound  scripture,  must  do  it  according  to  the  pro- 
portion of  faith,  (Rom.  12.  6.)  consistently  with 
practical  godliness. 

If  Christ  should  cast  himself  down,  it  would  be 
the  tempting  of  God,  [1.]  As  it  would  be  requirins- 
a  further  confirmation  of  that  which  was  so  well 
confirmed.  Christ  was  abundantly  satisfied  that 
God  was  already  hii  Father,  and  took  care  of  him, 
.'■nd  give  his  ange's  a  charge  concerning  him  ;  and 
the'-efore  tr>  put  it  upo  i  a  new  experiment,  would  be 
to  tempt  him,  as  the  Pharisees  tempted  Christ ; 


when  they  had  so  many  signs  on  earth,  they  de- 
manded a  sign  from  heaven.  This  is  limiting  the 
Holy  One  of  Israel.  [2.]  As  it  would  be  requiring  a 
s/iecial  preservation  of  him,  in  doing  that  which  he 
had  no  call  to.  If  we  expect  that  because  God  has 
promised  not  to  forsake  us,  therefore  he  should  fol- 
low us  out  of  the  way  of  our  duty  ;  that  because  he 
has  promised  to  supply  our  wants,  therefore  he 
should  humour  us,  and  please  our  fancies  ;  that  be- 
cause he  has  promised  to  keep  us,  we  may  wilfully 
thrust  ourselves  into  danger,  and  may  expect  the 
desired  end,  without  using  the  appointed  means  ; 
this  is  presumption,  this  is  tempting  God.  And  it 
is  an  aggravation  of  the  sin,  that  he  is  the  Lord  our 
God ;  it  is  an  abuse  of  the  privilege  we  enjoy,  in 
having  him  for  our  God  ;  he  has  thereby  encourag- 
ed us  to  tiiist  him,  but  we  are  very  ungrateful,  if 
therefore  we  tempt  him  ;  it  is  contrary  to  our  duty 
to  him  as  our  God.  This  is  to  affront  him  whom 
we  ought  to  honour.  Note,  ^^'e  must  never  pro 
mise  ourselves  any  more  than  God  has  promised  us. 
3.  He  tempted  him  to  the  most  black  and  horrid 
idolatry,  with  the  proffer  of  the  kingdoms  of  the 
world,  and  the  glory  of  them.  And  here  we  may 
observe, 

(1. )  How  the  Devil  made  this  push  at  our  Saviour, 
T.  8,  9.  The  worst  temptation  was  reserved  for  the 
last.     Note,  Sometimes  the  saints'  last  encounter  is 
with  the  sons  of  Anak,  and  the  parting  blow  is  the 
sorest ;  therefore,  whatever  temptation   we  have 
been  assaulted  by,  still  we  must  prepare  for  worse  ; 
must  be  armed  for  all  attacks,  with  the  armour  of 
righteousness  on  the  right  hand  and  on  the  left. 
In  this  temptation,  we  may  observe, 
[1.]  WTiat  he  showed  him — all  the  kingdoms  oj 
the  world.     In  order  to  this,  he  took  him  to  an  ex- 
ceeding high  jnountain  ;  in  hopes  of  pre\'ailing,  as 
Balak  with  Balaam,  he  changed  his  ground.     The 
pinnacle  of  the  temple  is  not  high   enough  ;  the 
prince  of  the  power  of  the  air  must  have  him  further 
up  into  his  territories.    Some  think  this  high  moun- 
tain was  on  the  other  side  of  Jordan,  because  there 
we  find  Christ  next  after  the  temptation,  John  1. 
28,  29.      Perhaps  it  was  mount  Pisgah,   whence 
Moses,  in  communion  with  God,  had  all  the  king- 
doms of  Canaan  showed  him.     Hither  the  blessed 
Jesus  was  carried  for  the  advantage  of  a  prospect  ; 
as  if  the  Devil  could  show  him  more  of  the  world 
than  he  knew  already,  who  made  and  governed  it. 
Thence  he  might  discover  some  of  the  kingdoms 
situate  about  Jiidea,  though  not  the  glory  of  them  ; 
but  there  was  doubtless  a  juggle  and  a  delusion  of 
Satan's  in  it ;  it  is  probable  that  that  which  he 
showed  him,  was  but  a  landscape,  an  airy  represen- 
tation in  a  cloud,  such  as  that  great  deceiver  could 
easily  frame  and  put  together  ;    setting  forth,   in 
proper  and  lively  colours,  the  glories  and  splendid 
appearance  of  princes,  and  their  robes  and  crowns, 
their  retinue,  equipage,  and  life-gnards  ;  the  pomps 
of  thrones,   and   courts,   and   stately  palaces,   the 
sumptuous  buildings  in  cities,  the  gardens  and  fields 
about  the  country-seats,  with  the  various  instances 
of  their  wealth,  pleasure,  and  gaiety  ;  so  as  might 
be  most  likely  to  strike  the  fancy,  and  excite  the 
admiration  and  affection.     Such  was  this  show,  and 
his  taking  of  him  up  into  a  high  mountain,  was  but 
to  humour  the  thing,  and  to  colour  the  delusion  ;  in 
which  vet  the  blessed  Jesus  did  not  suffer  himself 
to  be  imposed  upon,  but  saw  through  the  cheat,  only 
he  permitted  Satan  to  take  his  own  wa\-,  that  his 
victory  over  him  might  be  the  more  ilUistrious. 
Hence  obscr\-e,    concerning    Satan's    temf.tn'iovs, 
that.  First.  Thev  often  come  in  at  the  ey.  which  's 
blinded  to  the  thines  it  should  sec,  and  dp^zled  with, 
the  \anities  it  should  be  turned  from.     The  first  sin 
bepan  in  the  eye.  Gen.  3.  6.     ^^'e  therefore  need  to 
make  a  covenant  with  our  eyes,  and  to  pray  th:il 


ST.  MATTHKW,  IV. 


39 


God  \vo\\\(\  turn  t/iem  a-vay  from  beholding  vanity. 
Sccondhi,  That  temptations  conimonl  v  take  rise  fmm 
the  woi'kl,  and  the  things  of  it.  'I'he  lust  oflhcfltsh, 
and  of  the  ei/e,  with  the  pride  of  life,  are  the  topics 
from  which'  the  Devil  fetches  most'of  liis  ai-sviments. 
TInrdhj,  That  it  is  a  great  cheat  which  the  Devil 
puts  ui)on  ])oor  souls,  in  his  temptations.  He  de- 
ceives, .-md  so  destroys  ;  he  imposes  upon  men  with 
shadows  and  false  colours  ;  shows  the  world  and  the 
gloi-y  of  it,  and  hides  from  men's  eyes  the  sin  ar.d 
sorrow  and  death  which  stain  the  pride  of  all  this 
glorv,  the  cares  and  calamities  which  attend  ijreat 
possessions,  and  the  thorns  wliich  crownsthemselves 
are  lined  with.  Fourthly,  That  \.\\c  glory  of  the  ivorld 
is  the  most  charming  temptation  to  the  unthinking 
and  unwary,  and  that  by  which  men  are  most  im- 
posed upon.  iMban^i  sons  grudge  Jacob  all  his  glo- 
ry ;  the  /iride  of  life  is  the  most  dangerous  snare. 
'  [2.]  What  he  said  to  him;  {v.  9.)jll  these  things 
will  1  give  thee,  if  thou  wilt  fall  down  and  worshi/t 
me.     See, 

First,  How  x'ain  the /iroinise  WAS.  .'Ill  these  things 
will  I  give  thee.     He  seems  to  take  it  for  granted, 
that  in  the  foiTner  temptations  he  had  in  jiart  gain- 
ed his  point,  and  jirovcd  that  Christ  was  not  the 
Son  of  (iod,  beca\ise  he  had  not  given  him  those 
evidences  of  it  which  he  demanded  ;  so  that  here 
he  looks  upon  him  as  a  mere  man.     "Come,"  says 
he,  "it  seems  that  the  Ciod,  whose  Son  thou  think- 
est  thyself  to  be,  deserts  thee,  and  stanxs  th.ce — a 
sign  that  he  is  not  thy  Father  ;  but  if  thou  wilt  be 
ruled  l)v  me,  I  will  provide  better  for  thee  than  so  ; 
own  me  for  thy  father,  and  ask  my  blessing,  and  all 
this  will  I  gix'e  thee."    Note,  Satan  makes  an  easy 
prev  of  men,  when  he  can  persuade  them  to  think 
themselves  abandoned  of  God.     The  fallacy  of  this 
promise  lies  in  that,  .-///  this  will  I  give  thee.     And 
what  was  all  that .?  It  was  but  a  map,  a  picture,  a 
mere  phantasm,  that  had  nothing  in  it  real  or  solid, 
and  this  he  would  give  him  ;  a  goodly  prize  !  Yet 
such   are  Satan's  proffers.     Note,  Multitudes  lose 
the  sight  of  that  which  is,  by  setting  their  eyes  on 
that  which  is  not.  The  Devil's  baits  are  all  a  sham  ; 
they  are  shows  and  shadows  with  which  he  decei\-es 
them,  or  rather  they  deceive  themsches.    The  na- 
tions of  the  earth  had  been,  long  before,  promised  to 
the  \Iessiah  ;  if  he  be  the  Son  oj  God,  they  belong 
to  him  ;  Satan  pretends  now  to  be  a  good  angel, 
probably  one  of  those  that  were  set  over  kingdoms, 
and  to  have  received  a  commission  to  deliver  pos- 
session to  him  according  to  promise.     Note,  \\'e 
must  take  heed  of  receiving  even  that  which  God 
had  promised,  c^it  of  the  Devil's  hand ;  we  do  so 
\yhcn  we  precipitate  the  performance,  by  catching 
at  it  in  a  smfiil  way. 

Secondly,  How  vile  the  condition  was;  If  thou 
wilt  fall  down,  and  worshifi  me.  Note,  The  Devil 
is  fond  of  being  worshipped.  All  the  worship  which 
the  heathen  performed  to  their  gods,  was  dii-ccted 
to  the  Devil,  (Deut.  3i.  IT.)  who  is  therefore  called 
the  god  oj  this  world,  2  Cor.  4.  4.  1  Cor.  10.  20. 
And  fain  would  he  draw  Christ  into  his  intei-ests, 
and  persuade  him,  now  that  he  set  up  for  a  teacher, 
to  preach  up  the  Gentile  idolatry,  and  to  introduce 
it  again  among  the  Jews,  and  then  the  nations  of  the 
eartli  would  soon  flock  in  to  him.  'What  tempta- 
tion could  be  more  hideous,  more  black  ?  Note,  The 
best  of  s.iints  may  be  tempted  to  the  worst  of  sins, 
especially  when  they  are  under  the  power  of  melan- 
choly ;  as,  for  instance,  to  atheism,  blasphemy, 
murder,  self-murder,  and  what  not.  It  is  their  af- 
fliction, but  while  there  is  no  consent  to  it,  nor  ap- 
probation of  it,  it  is  not  their  sin  ;  Christ  was  tempt- 
ed to  worship  Satan. 

(2.)  See  how  Christ  warded  off  the  thrust,  baffled 
the  assault,  and  came  off  a  Conqueror.  He  rejected 
the  proposal, 


[1.]  With  abhorrence  and  detef.ation  !  (iet  thee 
hence,  Satan  .'  The  two  former  temptations  had 
something  of  colour,  which  would  admit  of  a  con- 
sideration, but  this  was  so  gross  as  not  to  bear  a  par- 
ley ;  it  api)ears  abominable  at  the  first  sight,  and 
therefore  is  immediately  rejected.  If  the  best  friend 
we  have  in  the  world  sliould  suggest  such  a  thing  as 
this  to  us.  Go,  icjTf  other  gods,  he  must  not  be 
heard  with  patience,  Deut.  13.  6,  8.  Some  temp- 
tations have  their  wickedness  written  in  their  fore- 
head, thev  are  open  before-hand ;  thej-  are  not  tc 
be  disputed  with,  ))ut  rejected  ;  "  Get  thee  hence, 
Satan  .'  .Vway  with  it,  I  cannot  bear  the  thought  of 
it  !"  \\'hile  Satan  tempted  Christ  to  do  himself  a 
mischief,  by  casting  himself  down,  though  he  yield- 
ed not,  vet 'he  heard  it ;  but  now  that  the  tempta- 
tion flies  in  the  face  of  (;od,  he  cann<,i  bear  it  ;  Get 
thee  hence,  Satan .'  Note,  It  is  a  just  indignation, 
which  rises  at  the  i)ro])osal  of  any  thing  that  reflects 
on  the  honour  cf  God,  and  strikes  at  his  crown. 
Nav,  whatever  is  an  abominable  thing,  which  we 
are  sure  the  Lord  hates,  we  must  thus  abominate  it; 
far  be  it  from  us  that  we  should  lune  any  thing  to 
do  with  it.  Note,  It  is  good  to  be  /lerem/itory  in  re 
sisting  temptation,  and  to  sto/i  our  cars  to  Satan's 
charms. 

[2.]  ^^■ith  an  argument  fetched  frorn  scripture. 
Note,  In  order  to  the  strengthening  of  our  resolu- 
tions against  sin,  it  is  good  to  see  wliat  a  great  deal 
of  reason  there  is  for  those  resolutions.     The  argu- 
ment is  verv  suitable,  and  exactly  to  the  nui-pose, 
taken  from  Deut.  6.  l".  and  10.  20.    'J'hou  shall  wor- 
shifi  the  Loj-d  thy   God,  and  him  only  shall  thou 
serve.     Christ  does  not  dispute  whether  he  were  an 
angel  of  light,  as  he  pretended,  or  not ;  but  though 
he  were,  yet  he  must  not  be  worshipped,  because 
that  is  an  honour  due  to  God  onl\'.    Note,  It  is  good 
to  make  our  answers  to  temptation  as  full  and  as 
brief  as  may  be,  so  as  not  to  leave  room  for  objec- 
tions.    Our'Saviour  has  recourse  to  the  fundamen- 
tid  law  in  this  case,  which  is  indispensable,  and  uni- 
\ersally  obligatory.    Note,  Religious  worship  is  due 
to  God'  only,  and  must  not  be  gi\cn  to  any  creature  ; 
it  is  a  flower  of  the  crown  which  cannot  be  alienated, 
a  branch  of  God's  glory  which  he  will  not  give  to 
another,  and  which  he' would  not  give  to  his  own 
Son,  by  obliging  all  men  to  honour  the  Son,  even  as 
then  honour  the  Father,  if  he  had  not  been  God, 
eqt'tal  to  him,  and  one  with  him.     Christ  quotes  this 
law  concerning  religious  worshiji,  ;md  quotes  it  with 
application  to"  himself;  First,  To  show  that  in  his 
estate  of  humiliation  he  was  himself  made  zinder 
this  law:  though,  as  God,  he  was  worshipped,  yet, 
as  Man,  he  did  worship  fiod,  both  publicly  and  pri- 
vately.    He  obliges  us  to  no  more  th;m  what  he  was 
first  pleased  to  oblige  himself  to.     Thus  it  became 
liim   to  fulfil  all  righteousness.     Secondly,  To  show 
that  the  law  of  religious  worship  is  of  etenial  obli- 
gation :  though  he  abrogated  and  altered  many  in- 
stitutions of  worship,  yet  this  fundamental  law  of 
nature — That  God  only  is  to  be  worshijipcd,   he 
came  to  ratify,  and  ccnfimi,  and  enforce  upon  us. 

V.  '\\"e  have  here  the  end  and  issue  of  this  com- 
bat, V.  11.  Though  the  children  of  God  may  be 
exercised  with  many  and  great  temptations,  yet  Gcd 
will  not  suffer  them  'to  be  tempted  above  the  strength 
which  either  they  have,  or  he  will  put  into  them, 
1  Cor.  10.  13.  It  is  but  for  a  season  that  they  are  in 
heaviness,  through  manifold  temptations. 

Now  the  issue  "was  glorious;  and  much  to  Christ's 
honour ;  for, 

1.  The  Devil  was  baffled,  and  quitted  the  field  ; 
Then  the  JDex'il  leaveth  him,  forced  to  do  so  by  the 
power  that  went  along  ^vith  that  word  of  cC'inmand, 
Get  thee  hence,  Satan.  He  made  a  sliameftil  and 
inglorious  retreat,  and  came  off  with  disgiace  ;  and 
the  more  daring  his  attempts  had  been,  the  more 


to 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IV. 


moitifying  was  the  foil  that  was  given  him.  ATag7iis 
tamen  excidit  aiisis — The  attemjxt,  however,  in  which 
he  failed,  was  daring.  Then,  when  he  had  done  his 
worst,  had  tempted  him  with  all  the  kingdoms  of 
the  world,  and  the  glorij  of  them,  and  found  tliat  he 
was  not  influenced  by  that  bait,  that  he  could  not 
prevail  with  that  temptation  with  which  he  had 
overthrown  so  many  thousands  of  the  children  of 
men,  then  he  leaves  him  ;  then  he  gives  him  over 
as  more  than  a  man.  Since  this  did  not  move  him, 
he  despairs  of  moving  him,  and  begins  to  conclude, 
that  he  is  the  Son  of  God,  and  that  it  is  in  vain  to 
tempt  him  any  fuilher.  Note,  If  we  resist  the  Devil, 
he  will  flee  fi-om  us ;  he  will  yield,  if  we  keep  our 
gi'ound  ;  as  wlien  jVaomi  saw  that  Ruth  was  stead- 
fastly resolved,  she  left  off  speaking  to  her.  \\'hen 
"the  Devil  left  our  Saviour,  he  owned  himself  fairly 
beaten  ;  his  head  was  broken  by  the  attempt  he 
made  to  bruise  Christ's  heel.  He  left  him  because 
he  had  nothing  in  him,  nothing  to  take  hold  of ;  he 
saw  it  was  to  no  puipose,  and  so  gave  over.  Note, 
The  Devil,  though  he  is  an  enemy  to  all  the  saints, 
is  a  conquered  enemy.  The  Captain  of  our  salva- 
tion has  defeated  and  disarmed  him ;  we  have  no- 
thing to  do  but  X.0 pursue  the  victorij. 

2.  I'he  holy  angels  came  and  attended  upon  our 
victorious  Redeemer  ;  Behold,  angels  came  and  mi- 
nistered unto  him.     They  came  in  a  visible  appear- 
ance, as  the  Devil   had  done  in  the  temptation. 
While  the  Devil  was  making  his  assaults  upon  our 
Saviour,  the  angels  stood  at  a  distance,  and  their 
immediate   attendance  and  ministration  were  sus- 
pended, that  it  might  ajjpear  that  he  vanquished 
Satan  in  his  own  strength,  and  that  his  victory  might 
be  the  more  illustrious ;  and  that  afterward,  when 
Michael  makes  use  of  his  angels  in  fighting  with  the 
dragon  and  his  angels,  it  might  appear,  that  it  is  not 
because  he  needs  them,  or  could  not  do  his  work 
without  them,  but  because  he  is  pleased  to  honour 
them  so  far  as  to  employ  them.     One  angel  might 
have  served  to  bring  him  food,  but  here  are  manv 
attending  him,  to  testify  their  respect  to  him,  and 
their  readiness  to  receive  his  commands.     Behold 
this!    It  is  worth  taking  notice  of;  (1.)  That  as 
there  is  a  world  of  wicked,  malicious  sjjirits  that 
fight  against  Christ  and  his  church,  and  all  particu- 
lar believers,  so  there  is  a  world  of  holy,  blessed 
spirits  engaged  and  employed  for  them.     In  refer- 
ence to  our  war  with  devils,  we  may  tiie  abundance 
of  comfort  from  our  communion  with  angels.     (2.)  I 
That  Christ's  victories  are  the  angels'  triumphs. 
The  angels  came  to  congratulate  Christ  on  his  suc- 
cess, to  rejoice  with  him,  and  to  give  him  the  glory 
due  to  his  name ;  for  that  was.  sung  with  a  loud  voice 
in  hea\'en,  when  the  great  dragon  was  cast  out,  (Rev. 
12.  9,  10.)   A''ow  is  come  salvation   and  strength. 
(3.)  That  the  angels  ministered  to  the  Lord  Jesus, 
not  onlv  food,  but  whatever  else  he  wanted  after  this 
great  fatigue.     See  how  the  instances  of  Christ's 
condescension  and  humiliation  were  balanced  with 
tokens  of  his  gloiy.     As  when  he  was  crucified  in 
weakness,  yet  he  Ih'ed  hij  the  power  of  God ;  so 
when  in  weakness  he  was  tempted,  was  hungrv  and 
weary,  yet  Ijy  his  divine  power  he  commanded  the 
ministration  of  angels.     Thus  the  Son  of  man  did 
eat  angels'  food,  and,  like  Elias,  is  fed  by  an  angel 
in  the  wiklei-ness,  1  Kings  19.  4,  7.     Note,  Though 
God  may  suffer  his  people  to  be  brought  into  wants 
and  straits,  yet  he  wijl  take  effectujd  care  for  their 
supply,  and  will  rather  send  angels  to  feed  them, 
than  see  them  perish.     Trust  in  the  Lord,  and  verily 
thou  shall  be  fed,  Ps.  37".  3. 

Christ  was  thus  succoured  after  the  temptation, 
[1.]  For  his  encouragement  to  go  on  in  his  under- 
taking, that  he  might  see  the  powers  of  heaven 
siding  with  him,  when  he  saw  the  powers  of  hell 
set  against  him.     [2.]  For  our  encouragement  to 


tnist  in  him  ;  for  as  he  knew,  by  experience,  w  hal 
it  was  to  suffer,  being  tempted,  and  how  hard  that 
was,  so  he  knew  what  it  was  to  be  succoured,  being 
tempted,  and  how  comfortable  that  was ;  and  there- 
fore we  may  expect,  not  only  that  he  will  sympa- 
thize with  his  tempted  people,  but  that  he  will  come 
in  with  seasonable  relief  to  them  ;  as  our  great  Mel- 
chizedec,  who  met  Abraham  when  he  returned  from 
the  battle,  and  as  the  angels  here  ministered  to  him. 
Lastly,  Christ,  having  been  thus  signalized  and 
made  great  in  the  invisible  world  by  the  voice  of  the 
Father,  the  descent  of  the  Spirit,  his  victoi-y  over 
de\'ils,  and  his  dominion  over  angels,  was  do\jbtless 
xjualified  to  appear  m  the  visible  world  as  the  Medi- 
ator between  God  and  man  ;  for  consider  how  great 
this  Man  was .' 

12.  Now  when  Jesus  had  heard  that 
John  \\'as  cast  into  prison,  he  departed  into 
Galilee:  13.  And  leaving  Nazareth,  he 
came  and  dwelt  in  Capernaum,  which  is 
upon  the  sea  coast,  in  the  borders  of  Zabu- 
lon  and  Nephthalim:  14.  That  it  might 
be  fultilled  which  was  spoken  by  Esaias 
the  prophet,  saying,  15.  The  land  of  Za- 
bulon,  and  the  land  of  Nephthalim,  by  the 
way  of  the  sea,  beyond  Jordan,  Galilee  of 
the  Gentiles;  16.  The  people  \\hich  sat 
in  darkness  saw  great  light :  and  to  them 
which  sat  in  the  region  and  shadow  of 
death  light  is  sprung  up.  17.  P'rom  that 
time  Jesus  began  to  preach,  and  to  say, 
Repent :  for  the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  at 
hand. 

We  ha\e  here  an  account  of  Christ's  preaching 
in  the  synagogues  of  Galilee,  for  he  came  into  the 
world  to  be  a  Preacher  ;  the  great  sahation  which 
he  wrought  out,  he  himself  began  to  publish,  (Heb. 
2.  3. )  to  shew  how  much  his  heart  was  upcn  it,  and 
ours  should  be. 

Several  passages  in  the  other  gospels,  especially 
in  that  of  St.  John,  are  supposed,  in  the  order  of  the 
story  of  Christ's  life,  to  intervene  Ijetween  his  temp- 
tation and  his  preaching  in  Galilee.  His  first  ap- 
pearance after  his  temptation,  was  when  John  Bap- 
tist pointed  to  him,  saymg.  Behold  the  Lumb  of  God, 
John  1.  29.  After  that,  he  went  up  to  Jei  usalem,  to 
the  passover,  (John  2.)  discoursed  with  Kiccdcmus, 
(John  3.)  with  the  woman  of  Samaria,  (J(  hn  4.)  and 
then  returned  into  Galilee,  and  preached  there. 
But  Matthew,  ha\-ing  had  his  residence  in  Galilee, 
begins  his  story  of  Christ's  public  ministry,  with  his 
preaching  there,  which  here  we  have  an  account  of 
Obsene, 

I.  The  time  ;  when  Jesvs  had  heard  that  John  wa.t 
cast  into  firison,  then  he  wetit  into  Galilee,  v.  12, 
Note,  The  cry  of  the  saints'  suflferings  ccmes  up  into 
the  ears  of  the  Lord  Jesus.  If  Jcihn  be  cast  into 
prison,  Jesus  hears  it,  takes  cognizance  r,f  it,  and 
steers  his  course  accordingly  ;  he  remembers  the 
bonds  and  afflictions  that  abide  his  people.  Obsen-e, 
1.  Christ  did  not  go  into  the  countiy,  till  he  heard  of 
John's  imprisonment ;  for  he  must  have  time  given 
him  to  firepare  the  way  of  the  Lord,  before  the  Lord 
himself  appear.  Providence  wisely  ordered  it,  that 
John  should  be  eclipsed  before  Christ  shotie  forth  ; 
otherwise  the  minds  of  people  would  have  been 
distracted  between  the  two  ;  one  would  have  said, 
/  am  of  John,  and  another,  /  am  of  Jesvs.  John 
must  be  Christ's  harbinger,  but  not  his  rival.  The 
moon  and  stars  are  lost  when  the  sun  rises.  John 
had  done  I3s  work  by  the  baptism  of  repentance. 


ST.  MATTHKW,  IV. 


41 


aiiJ  then  he  is  laid  aside.  The  witnesses  were  slain 
when  thev  had  finished  theiv  testimony,  and  not  be- 
fore, Kcv'.  11.  7.  2.  He  did  go  into  the  covmtn-  as 
soon  as  he  heard  of  Jolin's  imprisonment ;  not  only 
to  provide  for  his  own  safety,  knowini;  that  the  Pha- 
risees in  Judea  were  a-s  much  enemies  to  him  as 
lierod  was  to  John,  but  to  supply  the  want  of  John 
Baptist,  and  to  build  upon  the  good  foundation  he 
had  laid.  Note,  Clod  will  not  leave  liiiiisclf  without 
witness,  nor  his  church  without  guides  ;  when  he 
removes  one  useful  instiimient,  he  can  raise  up  ano- 
ther, for  he  has  the  residue  of  the  Spirit,  and  he  will 
do  it,  if  he  has  work  to  do.  J/oses  my  seri'aiit  is 
dead,  John  is  cast  into  prison ;  now  therefore,  Joshua, 
arise  ;  Jesus,  arise. 

II.  The  place  where  he  preached  ;  in  G;ililec,  a 
remote  ])ait  of  the  counti-)-,  that  lay  furthest  from 
Jenisaltni,  and  was  tliei'c  looked  upon  with  con- 
tempt, as  rude  and  boorish.  The  inhabitants  of  that 
country  were  reckoned  stout  men,  fit  for  soldiers, 
but  not  polite  men,  or  fit  for  scholars.  Thither 
Christ  went,  there  he  set  up  the  standard  of  his  gos- 
pel ;  and  in  this,  as  in  other  things,  he  humbled 
himself.     Observe, 

1.  The  particular  city  he  chose  for  his  residence  ; 
not  Xazaretli,  where  he  had  been  bred  up  ;  no,  he 
left  N;iz.ireth  ;  particular  notice  is  taken  of  that,  v. 
13.  And  with  good  reason  did  he  leave  Nazareth  ; 
for  the  men  of  that  city  thrust  him  out  from  among 
them,  l^uke  4.  29.  He  made  them  his  first,  and  a 
very  fair,  oflfer  of  his  scr\-ice,  but  they  rejected  him 
and  his  doctrine,  and  were  filled  with  indignation  at 
him  and  it ;  and  therefore  he  left  Nazai-eth,  and 
shook  off  the  dust  of  his  feet  for  a  testimony  against 
those  there,  who  would  not  haxe  him  to  teach  them. 
Nazareth  was  the  first  place  that  refused  Christ, 
and  was  therefore  refused  by  him.  Note,  It  is  just 
with  God,  to  take  the  gospel  and  the  means  of  grace 
from  those  that  slight  them,  and  thnist  them  away. 
Christ  will  not  stay  long  where  he  is  not  welcome. 
Unhappy  Nazareth  !  If  thou  hadst  k/iown  in  this 
thy  day  the  things  that  belong  to  thy  peace,  how 
well  had  it  been  for  thee  !  But  novj  they  are  hid 
from  thine  eyes. 

But  he  came  and  dcTj'j  in  Cafiernaum,  which  was 
a  city  of  Galilee,  but  many  miles  distant  from  Naza- 
reth, a  gi'eat  city  and  of  nmch  resort.  It  is  said 
here  to  be  o;;  the  sea  coast,  not  the  ^^reat  sea,  but  the 
sea  of  Tiberias,  an  inland  water,  called  also  the  lake 
of  Gennesaret.  Close  b\'  the  falling  of  Jordan  into 
ttiis  sea  stood  Capeniaum,  in  the  tribe  of  Naphtali, 
but  bordering  upon  Zebulun  ;  hither  Christ  came, 
and  here  he  dwelt.  Some  think  that  his  father  Jo- 
seph had  a  habitation  here,  others  that  he  took  a 
house  or  lodgings  at  least ;  and  sonie  think  it  more 
than  probable,  that  he  dwelt  in  the  house  of  Simon 
Peter ;  however,  here  he  fixed,  not  constantly,  for 
he  went  about  doing  good  ;  but  this  was  for  some 
time  his  head-quarters  :  what  little  rest  he  had,  was 
here  ;  here  he  had  a  place,  though  not  a  place  of  his 
own,  to  lay  his  head  on.  And  at  Capernaum,  it 
should  seem,  he  was  welcome,  and  met  with  better 
entertainment  than  he  had  at  Nazareth.  Note,  If 
some  reject  Christ,  vet  others  will  receive  him,  and 
bid  him  welcome.  Capernaum  is  glad  of  Nazareth's 
leavings.  If  Christ's  own  countrymen  be  not  gather- 
ed, yet  he  will  lie  glorious.  "  And  thou,  Capernaum, 
hast  now  a  day  of  it ;  thou  art  now  lifted  up  to  hea- 
ven ;  be  wise  for  thyself,  and  know  the  time  of  thy 
visitation." 

2.  The  prophecy  that  was  fulfilled  in  this,  v. 
14 — 16.  It  is  quoted,  Isa.  9.  1,  2.  but  with  some 
variation.  The  prophet  in  that  place  is  foretelling 
a  greater  darkness  of  affliction  to  befall  the  con- 
temner of  Immanuel,  than  befell  the  countries  there 
mentioned,  either  in  their  first  captivity  under  Ben- 
hadad,  which  was  but  light,  (1  Kings  15.  20.)  or  in 

Vol.  V. — F 


their  secc  nd  captivity  under  the  .\ss\ri;ui,  which 
was  much  heavier,  2  Kings  15.  29.  'I'he  punish- 
ment of  the  Jewish  nation  for  rejecting  the  gospel, 
should  be  sorer  than  either  ;  (see  Isa.  «.  21,  22.)  for 
those  captiv.ated  places  had  some  re\  iving  in  tlieir 
bondage,  and  saw  a  great  light  again,  ch.  9.  12.  This 
is  Isaiah's  sense  ;  but  the  Scripture  has  many  ful- 
fiUings  ;  and  the  Kvangelist  here  takes  <  nly  the  lat- 
ter clause,  which  speaks  of  the  return  of  tlic  light 
of  liberty  and  jjrosperity  to  those  countries  that  had 
been  in  the  darkness  of  captivity,  and  applies  it  to 
the  appearing  of  the  gosjiel  among  them. 

The  jjlaces  are  spoken  of,  v.  15.  'J'he  land  of 
Xehu/un  is  rightly  said  to  be  6y  the  sea  coast,  for 
Zebulun  was  a  haven  of  ships,  and  rejoiced  in  her 
e-o/n^- OK/,  Gen.  49.  l.".  Dent.  33.  IS.  Of  Naphtali, 
it  had  been  said,  that  he  should  i^ri'e  goodly  words, 
(Gen.  49.  21.)  and  should  be  satisfied  irith  favour, 
(Dcut.  33.  23.)  for  from  him  began  the  gospel  ; 
goodly  words  indeed,  and  .such  as  bring  to  a  soul 
God's  satisfying  favour.  The  country  beyond  Jor- 
dan is  mentioned  likewise,  for  there  we  sometimes 
find  Christ  preaching,  and  Galilee  of  the  (ientiles, 
the  upper  Galilee  to  which  the  Clentilcs  resorted  for 
traffic,  and  where  thev  were  mingled  with  the  Jews ; 
which  intimates  a  kindness  in  rtscrx  c  tor  the  poor 
(Ientiles.  When  Christ  came  to  Capeniaum,  the 
gospel  came  to  all  those  ])laces  round  about ;  such 
dimisive  influence  did  the  Sun  of  righteousness  cast. 

Now,  concerning  the  inhabitants  of  these  places, 
observe,  (1.)  The  posture  they  were  in  before  the 
gospel  came  among  them  ;  (v.  16.)  thev  were  in 
darkness.  Note,  'I'hcse  that  are  without  Christ,  are 
in  the  dark,  nay,  they  are  darkness  itself ;  as  the 
darkness  that  was  upon  the  face  of  the  deeji.  Nay, 
thev  were  in  the  region  and  shado'.v  of  death  ;  which 
denotes  not  only  great  darkness,  as  the  gi'avc  is  a 
land  of  darkness,  but  great  danger.  A  man  that  is 
desperately  sick,  and  not  likely  to  recov  er,  is  in  the 
valley  of  the  shadow  of  death,  though  nut  (juite 
dead  ;  so  the  poor  people  were  in  the  boi-dei's  of 
damnation,  though  not  yet  damned,  dead  in  law. 
And,  which  is  worst  of  all,  they  were  sitting  in  this 
condition.  Sitting  is  a  continuing  posture  ;  where 
we  sit,  we  mean  to  stay  ;  they  were  in  the  dark, 
and  likely  to  be  so,  despairing  to  find  the  way  out. 
.\nd  it  is  a  contpnted  posture  ;  they  were  in  the 
dark,  and  they  loved  darkness,  they  chose  it  rather 
than  light ;  they  were  willingly  ignorant.  Their 
condition  was  sad  ;  it  is  still  the  condition  of  many- 
great  and  mightv  nations,  which  are  to  be  thought 
of,  and  prayed  for,  with  pity.  But  their  condition 
is  more  sad,  avIio  sit  in  darkness  in  the  midst  of 
gospel-light.  He  that  is  in  the  dark  liecause  it  is 
night,  may  be  sure  that  the  sun  will  shortly  arise  ; 
but  he  that  is  in  the  dark  because  he  is  blind,  will 
not  so  soon  have  his  eyes  opened.  A\"e  have  the 
light,  but  what  will  that  avail  us,  if  we  be  not  light 
in  the  Lord  ?  (2. )  The  privilege  they  enjoyed,  when 
Christ  and  his  gospel  came  among  them  ;  it  was  as 
gi-eat  a  re\ iving  as  e\er  light  was  to  a  benighted 
traveller.  Note,  ^Mien  the  gospel  comes,  light 
comes  ;  when  it  comes  to  any  place,  when  it  comes 
to  any  soul,  it  makes  day  there,  John  3.  19.  Luke  1. 
78,  "9.  Light  is  discovering,  it  is  directing ;  so  is  the 
gospel. 

It  is  a  great  light ;  denoting  the  clearness  and  evi- 
dence of  gospel-revelations  ;  not  like  the  light  of  a 
candle,  but  the  light  of  the  sun  when  he  gees  forth 
ill  his  strength.  Great  in  comparison  with  the  light 
of  the  law,  the  shadows  of  which  were  now  done 
awav.  It  is  a  great  light,  for  it  discovers  great  things 
and  of  vast  consequence  ;  it  will  last  long,  and  spread 
far.  And  it  is  a  growing  light,  intimated  in  that 
word,  It  is  s/irung  uft.  It  was  but  spring  of  day 
with  them  ;  now  the  day  dawned,  which  afterward 
shone  more  and  more.    The  gospel-kingdom,  like  a 


42 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IV. 


grain  of  mustard-seed,  or  the  moming-light,  was 
small  in  its  beginnings,  gi-adual  in  its  growth,  but 
gi'eat  in  its  perfection. 

Observe,  The  light  sprayig  uji  to  them  ;  they  did 
not  go  to  seek,  i',  but  were  prevented  with  the  bles- 
sings of  this  goodness.  It  came  upon  them  ere  they 
were  aware,  at  the  time  appointed,  by  the  disposal 
of  him  who  commandeth  the  morning,  and  causes  the 
day-sjiring  to  know  its  place,  that  it  may  take  hold  of 
the  ends  of  the  earth.  Job  38.  12,  13. 

The  text  he  preached  upon  is  mentioned,  v.  17. 
JFrom  that  time,  that  is,  from  the  time  of  his  coming 
into  Galilee,  into  the  land  of  Zebulun  and  Naphtali, 
from  that  time,  he  began  to  preach.  He  had  been 
preaching,  before  this,  in  Judea,  and  had  made  and 
baptized  many  disciples  ;  (John  4.  1. )  but  his  preach- 
ing was  not  so  public  and  constant  as  now  it  began  to 
be.  The  work  of  the  ministry  is  so  great  and  awful, 
that  it  is  fit  to  be  entered  upon  by  steps  and  gradual 
advances. 

The  subject  which  Christ  dwelt  upon  now  in  his 
preaching,  (and  it  was  indeed  the  sum  and  substance 
of  all  his  preaching,^  was  the  veiy  same  that  John 
had  preached  upon  ;  {ch.  3.  2. )  Re/ient,for  the  king- 
dom of  heaven  is  at  hand  ;  for  the  gospel  is  the  same 
for  substance  under  various  dispensations ;  the  com- 
mands the  same,  and  the  reasons  to  enforce  them 
the  same  ;  an  angel  from  heaven  dares  not  preach 
any  other  gospel,  ((ial.  1.  8.)  and  will  preach  this, 
for  it  is  the  ei'erlasting  gos/iel.  Fear  God,  and,  by 
repentance,  give  honour  to  him.  Rev.  14.  6,  7.  Christ 
put  a  great  respect  upon  John's  ministry,  when  he 
preached  to  the  same  puipoit  that  he  had  preached 
before  him.  By  this  he  showed  that  John  was  his 
messenger  and  ambassador ;  for  when  he  brought  tlie 
errand  himself,  it  was  the  same  that  he  had  sent  by 
him.  Thus  did  God  confirm  the  word  of  his  mes- 
sengers, Isa.  44.  26.  The  Son  came  on  the  same 
errand  that  the  servants  came  on,  {ch.  21.  37.)  to 
seek  fruit,  fruits  meet  for  repentance.  Christ  had 
lain  in  the  bosom  of  the  Father,  and  could  have 
preached  sublime  notions  of  di\ine  and  heavenly 
things,  that  should  have  alarmed  and  amused  the 
learned  world,  but  he  pitches  upon  this  old,  plain 
text,  Ke/ient,  for  the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  at  hand. 
[1.]  This  he  preached  Jfrsr  upon;  he  began  with 
this.  Ministers  must  not  be  ambitious  of  broaching 
new  opinions,  framing  new  schemes,  or  coining  new 
expressions,  but  must  content  themselves  with  plain,- 
practical  things,  with  the  word  that  is  nigh  us,  even 
in  our  mouth,  and  in  our  heart.  Wc  need  not  go  up 
to  heaven,  nor  down  to  the  deep,  for  matter  or  lan- 
guage in  our  preaching.  As  John  prepared  Christ's 
way,  so  Christ  prepared  his  own,  and  made  way  for 
the  further  discoveries  he  designed,  with  the  doc- 
trine of  repentance.  If  any  man  will  do  this  part  of 
his  laill,  he  shall  know  more  of  his  doctrine,  John  7. 
17.  [2.]  This  he  preached  often  xipon  ;  wherever 
he  went,  this  was  his  subject,  and  neither  he  nor  his 
followers  ever  reckoned  it  worn  threadbare,  as  those 
would  have  done,  that  have  itching  ears,  and  are 
fond  of  novelty  and  variety  more  than  that  which  is 
truly  edifying.'  Note,  That  which  has  been  preach- 
ed and  heard  before,  may  yet  very  profitably  be 
preached  and  heard  again;  but  then  it  should  be 
preached  and  heard  better,  and  with  new  affections ; 
what  Paul  had  said  before,  he  said  again,  ivee/iing, 
Phih  3.  1,  18.  [3.]  This  he  preached  as  gospel; 
"Repent,  re\-iew  your  ways,  and  retum  to  your- 
selves. "  Note,  The  doctrine  of  repentance  is  right 
gospel-doctrine.  Not  only  the  austere  Baptist,  who 
was  looked  upon  as  a  melancholy,  morose  man,  but 
the  sweet  and  gracious  Jesus,  whose  lips  dropped  as 
a  honev-comb,  preached  repentance ;  for  it  is  an 
uns])eakable  privilege  that  room  is  left  for  repent- 
ance. [4.]  The  reason  is  still  the  same  ;  The  king- 
dom of  heaven  is  at  hand  ;  for  it  was  not  reckoned  to 


be  fully  come  ;  till  the  pouring  out  of  the  Spirit  after 
Christ  s  ascension.  John  had  preached  the  kingdom 
of  heaven  at  hand  above  a  year  before  this ;  but  now 
that  it  was  so  much  nearer,  the  argument  was  so 
much  the  stronger;  now  is  the  salvation  nearer, 
Rom.  13.  11.  We  should  be  so  much  the  more 
quickened  to  our  duty,  as  we  see  the  day  approach- 
ing, Heb.  10.  25. 

18.  And  Jesus,  walking  by  the  sea  of 
Galilee,  saw  two  brethren,  Simon  called 
Peter,  and  Andrew  his  brother,  casting  a 
net  into  the  sea  :  for  they  were  fishers 
19.  And  he  saith  unto  them,  Follow  me, 
and  I  will  make  you  fishers  of  men.  20. 
And  they  straightway  left  their  nets,  and 
followed  him.  21.  And  going  on  from 
thence,  he  saw  other  two  brethren,  James 
the  son  of  Zebedee,  and  John  his  brother, 
in  a  ship  with  Zebedee  their  father,  mend- 
ing their  nets  :  and  he  called  them.  22. 
And  they  immediately  left  the  ship  and 
their  father,  and  followed  him. 

'^'V'hen  Christ  began  to  preach,  he  began  to  gather 
disci/iles,  who  should  now  be  the  hearers,  and'^ here- 
after the  preachers,  of  his  doctrine,  who  should  now 
be  witnesses  of  his  miracles,  and  hereafter  concern- 
ing them.  Now,  in  these  verses,  we  have  an  ac- 
count of  the  first  disciples  that  he  called  into  fellow- 
ship with  himself. 

And  this  was  an  instance,  1.  Of  effectual  calling  to 
Christ.  In  all  his  preaching  he  gave  a  common  call 
to  all  the  country,  but  in  this  he  gave  a  special  and 
particular  call  to  those  that  were  given  him  by  the 
Father.  Let  us  see  and  admire  the  power  of  Christ's 
grace,  own  his  word  to  be  the  red  of  his  strength, 
and  wait  upon  him  for  those  powerful  influences 
which  are  necessary  to  the  efficacy  of  the  gospel- 
call — those  distinguishing  influences.  .  All  tlie  coun- 
try was  called,  but  those  were  called  out,  were  re- 
deemed  froni  among  men.  Christ  was  so  manifested 
to  them,  as  he  was  not  manifested  unto  the  world. 
2.  It  was  an  instance  of  ordination,  and  appointment 
to  the  work  of  the  ministry.  When  Christ,  as  a 
Teacher,  set  up  his  great  school,  one  of  his  first 
works  was  to  appoint  ushers,  or  under-masters,  to 
be  employed  in  the  work  of  instruction.  Now  he 
began  to  give  gifts  unto  men,  to  put  the  treasure  into 
earthen  vessels.  It  was  an  early  instance  of  his  care 
for  his  church. 

Now  we  may  obsene  here, 

1.  llliere  they  were  called — by  the  sea  of  Galilee, 
where  Jesus  was  walking,  Capeniaum  being  situated 
near  that  sea.  Concerning  this  sea  of  Tiberias,  the 
Jews  have  a  saying.  That  of  all  the  seven  seas  that 
God  made,  he  made  choice  of  none  but  this  sea  of 
Gennesaret;  which  is  very  applicable  to  Christ's 
choice  of  it,  to  honour  it,  as  he  often  did,  with  his 
presence  and  miracles.  Here,  on  the  banks  of  the 
sea,  Christ  was  walking  for  contemplation,  as  Isaac 
in  the  field  ;  hither  he  went  to  call  disciples :  not  to 
Herod's  court,  (for  few  mighty  or  noble  are  called,) 
not  to  Jei-usalem,  among  the  chief  priests  and  the 
elders,  but  to  the  sea  of  Galilee  ;  surely  Christ  sees 
not  as  man  sees.  Not  but  that  the  same  power 
which  effectually  called  Peter  and  Andrew,  would 
have  wrought  upon  Annas  and  Caiaphas,  for  with 
God  nothing  is  impossible ;  but,  as  in  other  things,  so 
in  Ms  converse  and  attendance,  he  would  humble 
himself,  and  show  that  God  has  chosen  the  poor  of 
this  world.  Galilee  was  a  remote  part  of  the  nation, 
the  inhabitants  were  less  cultivated  and  refined, 
their  very  language  was  bi-oad  and  uncouth  to  the 


ST.  MATTHEW  IV. 


43 


luncius,  tlieir  s/ieec/i  bewrayed  them.  They  wlio 
were  picked  up  at  the  sea  of  Galilee,  Imd  not  tiie 
a(lv:uitages  antl  improvements,  ni),  not  of  the  more 
polished  Cialileans;  yet  thither  Clirist  wciit,  to  call 
his  apostles  thut  were  to  be  tlie  prime  ministers  of 
state  in  his  kingdom,  for  he  r/joow*  ike  foolisA  things 
ofthetvorld,  to  confound  thcivise. 

11.  /rVici  they  were,  \^'c  have  an  account  of  the 
call  of  two  pair  of  brothers  in  tlicse  verses — Peter 
and  Andrew,  James  and  Jolm;  the  two  former,  and, 
probably,  the  two  latter  also,  liad  had  acquaintance 
with  Christ  before,  (John  1.  'lO,  -11.)  but  were  not 
till  now  called  into  a  close  tind  constant  attendance 
upon  him.  Note,  Christ  brings  jjoor  souls  by  de- 
grees into  fellowship  with  himself.  They  had  been 
disciples  of  John,  and  sn  were  tlielietter  disposed  to 
follow  Clirist.  Note,  Those  who  liave  submitted  to 
the  discipline  of  repcntiuice,  shall  be  welcome  to  the 
joys  of  faith,     ^^"e  may  observe  concerning  them, 

1.  That  they  were  brothers.  Note,  It  is  a  blesse<l 
thing,  when  tliey  who  are  kinnmoi  according  to  titc 
fiesli,  (as  the  ai)r-stle  speaks,  Rom.  y.  3. )  are  brought 
together  into  a  spiritual  alliance  to  Jesus  Christ.  It 
is  the  honour  and  comfort  of  a  house,  when  those 
that  are  of  the  same  family,  are  of  God's  family. 

2.  That  they  were  ./f*/"'"*-  Being  fisliers,  (1.) 
Thev  wcvc /inor  men:  if  they  had  had  estates,  or  any 
considerable  stock  in  trade,  they  would  not  have 
made  it  their  trade,  however  they  might  have  made 
it  their  recreation.  Note,  Christ  does  not  despise 
the  poor,  and  therefore  we  must  not;  the  poor  are 
evangelized,  and  the  Fountain  of  honour  sometimes 
gives  more  abundant  honour  to  that  part  which  most 
lacked.  (2.)  They  were  unlearned  men,  not  bred 
up  to  books  01'  literature  as  Moses  was,  who  was 
conversant  with  all  the  leaining  of  the  Egyptians. 
Note,  Christ  sometimes  chooses  to  endow  those  with 
the  gifts  of  grace  who  have  least  to  show  of  the  gifts 
of  nature.  Yet  this  will  not  justify  the  bold  intrusion 
of  ignorant  and  unqualified  men  into  the  work  of  the 
ministry;  extraordinary  gifts  of  knowledge  and  ut- 
terance are  not  now  to  be  expected,  but  requisite 
abilities  must  be  obtained  in  an  ordinary  way,  and 
without  a  competent  measure  of  these,  none  are  to 
be  admitted  to  that  service.  (3.)  They  were  mc« 
of  business,  who  had  been  bred  up  to  labour.  Note, 
Diligence  in  an  honest  calling  is  pleasing  to  Christ, 
and  no  hinderancc  to  a  holy  life.  IMoses  was  called 
from  keeping  sheep,  and  David  from  following  the 
ewes,  to  eminent  employments.  Idle  people  lie  more 
open  to  the  temptations  of  Satan  than  to  the  calls  of 
God.  (4. )  They  were  men  that  were  accustomed 
to  hardships  and  hazards;  the  fisher's  trade,  more 
than  any  other,  is  laborious  and  perilous;  fishermen 
must  be  often  wet  and  cold;  the}-  must  watch,  and 
wait,  and  toil,  antl  be  ;>ften  in  fieri!  by  waters.  Note, 
Those  who  lia\e  learned  to  bear  hardships,  and  to 
run  hazards,  arc  best  prepared  for  the  fellowship 
and  disfipleship  of  Jesus  Christ.  Good  soldiers  of 
Christ  must  endm-e  hardness, 

III.  What  they  -ivei-e  doing.  Peter  and  Andrew 
were  then  using  their  nets,  they  v>-ere  fishing;  and 
James  and  John  were  mending  their  nets,  which  was 
an  instance  of  their  industry  and  good  husbandry. 
Thev  did  not  goto  their  father  for  money  to  buy  new 
nets,  but  took  ])ains  to  mend  their  old  ones.  It  is  com- 
mendable to  make  what  we  have  go  as  far,  and  last 
as  long,  as  may  be.  James  and  John  were  ivith  their 
father  Zf  if  rfff",  ready  to  assist  him,  and  make  his  bu- 
siness easy  to  him.  Note,  It  is  a  happi,-  and  hopeful 
presage,  to  see  children  careful  of  their  parents,  and 
dutiful  to  them.  Observe,  1.  They  were  all  em- 
ployed, all  very  busy,  and  none  idle.'  Note,  When 
Christ  comes,  it  is  good  to  be  found  doing.  "Am  I 
in  Christ?"  is  a  verv  needful  question  for  us  to  ask 
ourselves;  and,  next  to  that,  "Am  I  in  my  calling?" 
2.   They  were  differently  employed;  two  of  them 


wei-e  fishing,  and  two  of  them  mending  their  nets. 
Note,  Ministers  should  be  always  employed,  eitlier 
in  teaching  or  .studying;  they  may  always  find  them- 
selves something  to  do,  if  it  Ijc  not  their  own  fault; 
and  mending  their  nets  is,  in  its  season,  as  necessary 
work  as  fishing. 

IV.  U'hiit  the  cull  was;  (^v.  19.)  Follow  me,  and 
Twill  make  you  fishers  of  men.  They  had  followed 
Christ  before,  as  ordinary  disciples,  (Jolm  1.  37.) 
but  so  they  might  follow  Christ,  and  follow  their 
calling  too;  therefore  they  were  called  to  a  more 
close  and  constant  attendance,  and  nmst  leave  their 
calling.  Note,  Even  they  who  ha\e  been  called  to 
follow  Christ,  have  need  to  be  called  to  follow  on, 
and  to  follow  nearer,  es])ecially  when  they  are  de- 
signed for  the  work  cf  the  ministry.     Obseive, 

1.  What  Christ  intended  them  for;  I  ivitl  make 
you  fishers  of  men,  this  alludes  to  their  former  call- 
ing. Let  them  not  be  proud  of  the  new  honour  de- 
signed (hem,  they  arc  still  but  fishers;  let  them  not 
be  afraid  of  the  new  work  cut  out  for  them,  for  they 
have  been  used  to  fishing,  and  fishers  they  are  still. 
It  was  usual  v/ith  Clirist  to  speak  of  spirituid  and 
heavenly  things  under  such  allusions,  and  in  such 
expressions,  as  took  rise  from  common  things  that 
ofTered  themselves  to  his  view.  David  was  called 
from  feeding  sheep  to  feed  (jod's  Israel;  and  when 
he  is  a  king,  is  a  sheplierd.  Note,  (1.)  Ministers 
arc  fishers  of  men,  not  to  destroy  them,  but  to  save 
them,  by  bringing  them  into  ;,r,nther  element.  They 
must  fish,  iKJt  for  wrath,  wealth.  In nour,  Mid  pre- 
ferment, to  gain  them  to  themselves,  but  for  souls, 
to  gain  them  to  Christ.  'J'hey  watch  for  your  souls, 
(Heb.  13.  17.)  and  seek  not  yours,  hut  you,  2  Cor. 
12.  14,  16.  (2. )  It  is  Jesus  Christ  that  makes  them 
so;  /  will  make  you  fishers  of  me?i.  It  is  he  that 
qualifies  men  for  this  work,  calls  them  to  it,  autho- 
rizes them  in  it,  and  gives  them  success  in  it,  gives 
them  commission  to  fish  for  souls,  and  wisdom  to 
win  them.  Those  ministers  are  likely  to  have  com- 
fort in  their  work,  who  are  thus  made  by  Jesus 
Christ. 

2.  What  they  must  do  in  order  to  this;  Follow  me. 
They  must  separate  themselves  to  a  diligent  attend- 
ance on  him,  and  set  themselves  to  a  humble  imita- 
tion of  him;  must  follow  him  as  their  Leader.  Note, 
(1.)  Those  whom  Christ  employs  in  any  service  for 
him,  must  first  be  fitted  and  qualified  for  it.  (2.) 
Those  who  would  preach  Christ,  must  first  learn 
Christ,  and  learn  of  him.  How  can  v.e  expect  to 
bring  others  to  the  knowledge  of  Chiist,  it  we  do 
not  know  him  well  ourselves?  (3.)  These  who  would 
get  an  acquaintance  with  Christ,  must  be  diligent 
;md  constant  in  their  attendance  on  him.  The  apos- 
tles wercprcpared  for  their  work,  by  accomfianying 
Christ  all  the  time  that  he  went  in  and  out  among 
them,  Acts  1.  21.  There  is  no  learning  comparable 
to  that  which  is  got  by  following  Christ.  Joshua,  by 
ministering  to  Moses,  is  fitted  to  be  his  successor. 
(4. )  Those  who  are  to  fish  for  men,  must  therein 
follow  Christ,  and  do  it  as  he  did,  with  diligence, 
faithfulness,  and  tenderness.  Christ  is  the  great 
Pattern  for  preachers,  and  they  ought  to  be  workers 
together  with  him. 

V.  What  was  the  success  of  this  call.  Peterand 
Andrew  straightway  lift  their  ?iets;  {v.  20. )  and 
James  and  John  immediately  left  the  shi/i  and  their 
father;  (v.  22.)  and  they  all  followed  him.  Note, 
Those  who  would  follow  Christ  aright,  must  leave 
a// to  follow  him.  Every  christian  must  leave  all 
in  affection,  sit  loose  to  all,  must  hate  father  and 
mother,  (Luke  14.  26.)  must  love  them  less  than 
Christ,  must  be  ready  to  part  with  his  interest  in 
them  rather  than  with  his  interest  in  Jesus  Christ; 
but  those  who  are  devoted  to  the  work  of  the  minis- 
try are,  in  a  special  manner,  concerned  to  disentan- 
gle themselves  from  all  the  affairs  of  this  life,  thai 


44 


ST.  MATTHEW,  JV. 


they  may  give  themselves  wholly  to  that  work  which 
requires  the  whole  man.     Now, 

1.  This  instance  of  the  power  of  the  Lord  Jesus 
gives  us  good  encouragement  to  depend  upon  the 
sufficiency  of  his  grace.  How  strong  and  effectual 
is  his  word  !  He  ulieaks,  and  it  is  done.  The  same 
power  goes  along  with  tliis  word  of  Christ,  FoUom 
me,  that  went  along  with  that  word,  Lazarus,  come 
forth;  3,\>oviev  to  make  ivillijig,  Ps.  110.  3. 

2.  This  instance  of  the  plialileness  of  the  disciples, 
gives  us  a  good  example  of  obedience  to  the  com- 
mand of  Clirist.  Note,  It  is  the  good  property  of  all 
Christ's  faithful  servants  to  come  when  they  are 
called,  and  to  follow  their  Master  wherever  he  leads 
fhem.  They  objected  not  their  present  employ- 
ments, their  engagements  to  their  families,  the  dif- 
ficulties of  tlie  service  they  were  called  to,  or  their 
own  unfitness  for  it;  but,  being  called,  they  obeyed, 
and,  like  Abraham,  ivent  out  7iot  knovjijig  iv/iit/ier 
they  ivent,  but  knowing  very  well  whom  they  fol- 
lowed. James  and  John  left  their  father,  it  is  not 
said  wliat  became  of  him;  their  mother  Salome  was 
a  constant  follower  of  Christ;  no  doubt,  their  father 
Zebedee  was  a  believer,  but  the  call  to  follow  Christ 
fastened  on  the  young  ones.  Youth  is  the  learning 
age,  and  the  labouring  age.  The  priests  ministered 
in  tlie  prime  of  their  time. 

23.  And  Jesus  went  about  all  Galilee, 
teaching  in  their  synagogues,  and  preach- 
ing the  gospel  of  the  kingdom,  and  healing 
all  manner  of  sickness  and  all  manner  of 
disease  among  the  people.  24.  And  his 
fame  went  throughout  all  Syria :  and  they 
brought  unto  him  all  sick  people  that  were 
taken  with  divers  diseases  and  torments, 
and  those  which  were  possessed  with  de- 
vils, and  those  which  were  lunatic,  and 
those  that  had  the  palsy;  and  he  healed 
them.  25.  And  there  followed  him  great 
multitudes  of  people  from  Galilee,  and 
from  Decapolis,  and  from  Jerusalem,  and 
from  Judea,  and  from  beyond  Jordan. 

See  here, 

1.  What  an  industrious  preacher  Christ  was  ;  He 
•uient  about  all  Galilee,  teaching  in  their  synagogues, 
and  fireaching  the  gosfiel  of  the  kingdom.  Observe, 
1.  Jl7iat  Chnst  preached — the  gosfiel  of  the  king- 
dom. The  kingdom  of  heaven,  that  is,  of  grace  and 
glory,  is  emphatically  the  kingdom,  the  kitigdom  that 
was  now  to  come  ;  the  kingdom  which  shall  survive, 
as  it  doth  surpass,  all  the  kingdoms  of  the  earth. 
Tfie  gosfiel  is  the  charter  of  that  kingdom,  contain- 
ing the  King's  coronation  oath,  by  which  he  has  gra- 
ciously obliged  himself  to  pardon,  protect,  and  save 
the  subjects  of  that  kingdom  ;  it  contains  also  their 
oath  of  allegiance,  by  which  they  oblige  themselves 
to  observe  his  statutes  and  seek'his  honour  ;  this  is 
the  gosfiel  of  the  -cingdom  ;  this  Christ  was  himself 
the  Preacher  of,  that  our  faith  m  it  might  be  con- 
firmed. 2.  IJ7!crf  he  preached — in  the  synagogues  ; 
not  there  only,  but  there  chiefly,  because  those  were 
the  filaces  of  concourse,  where  wisdom  was  to  lift 
ufi  her  voice;  (Prov.  1.  21.)  because  they  were 
filaces  ofco7icourse  for  religious  woi-ship,  and  there, 
it  was  to  be  hoped,  the  minds  of  the  people  would 
be  prepared  to  receive  the  gosfiel ;  and  there  the 
scriptures  of  the  Old  Testament  were  read,  the  ex- 
position of  which  would  easily  introduce  the  gosfiel 
of  the  kingdom.  X  IVhat  fiains  he  took  in  preach- 
ing ;  He  ivent  about  ail  Galilee,  teaching.  He  might 
have  issued  out  a  proclamation  to  summon  all  to 
come  to  him ;  but,  to  show  his  humility,  and  the 


condescensions  of  his  gi-ace,  he  goes  to  them  ;  for 
he  waits  to  be  gracious,  and  comes  to  seek  and  save. 
Josephus  says.  There  were  above  two  hundred  cities 
and  towns  in  Galilee,  and  all,  or  most  of  them, 
Christ  visited.  He  ivent  about  doing  good.  Never 
was  there  such  an  itinerant  preacher,  such  an  inde- 
fatigable one,  as  Christ  was  ;  he  went  from  town  to 
town,  to  beseech  poor  simicrs  to  be  reconciled  to 
God.  This  is  an  example  to  ministers,  to  lay  them- 
selves out  to  do  good,  and  to  be  instant  and  constant, 
in  season,  and  out  of  season,  to  preach  the  word. 

II.  What  a  pow'erful  Physician  Christ  was ;  he 
went  about,  not  only  teaching,  but  healing,  and  both 
with  his  word,  that  he  might  magnify  that  above  all 
his  name.  He  sent  his  word,  and  healed  the7n.  Now 
observe, 

1.  AVhat  diseases  he  cured — all  without  excep- 
tion. He  healed  all  inanner  of  sickness,  and  all  man- 
7ier  of  disease.  There  are  diseases  which  are  called 
the  rejiroach  of  fihysicians,  being  obstinate  to  all  the 
methods  they  can  prescribe  ;  but  even  those  were 
the  glo:y  of  this  Phvsician,  for  he  healed  them  all, 
however  inveterate.  His  word  was  the  true  Jian- 
fiharmacon — all-heal. 

Three  general  words  are  here  used  to  intimate 
this  ;  he  healed  every  sickness,  vlait,  as  blindness, 
lameness,  fever,  dropsy  ;  eveiy  disease,  or  languish- 
ing, juuhuiiUv,  as  fluxes  and  consumptions  ;  and  all 
torments,  fixa-avju;,  as  gout,  stone,  convulsions,  and 
such  like  torturing  distempers  ;  whether  the  disease 
was  acute  or  chronical ;  whether  it  was  a  racking 
or  a  wasting  disease  ;  none  was  too  bad,  none  too 
hard,  for  Christ  to  heal  with  a  word's  speaking. 

Three  particular  diseases  are  specified  ;  the  fialsy, 
which  is  the  greatest  weakness  of  the  liody  ;  lunacy, 
which  is  the  greatest  malady  of  the  mind  ;  and  Jws- 
session  of  the  Devil,  which  is  the  greatest  misery 
and  calamity  of  both  ;  yet  Christ  healed  all  :  for  he 
is  the  sovereign  Phvsician  lioth  of  soul  and  body, 
and  has  command  of  all  diseases. 

2.  What  patients  lie  had.  A  physician  who  was 
so  easy  of  access,  so  sure  of  success,  who  cured  im- 
mediately, without  either  a  painful  suspense  and 
expectation,  or  such  painful  remedies  as  are  wurse 
than  the  disease  ;  who  cured  gratis,  and  took  no 
fees,  could  not  but  have  abundance  of  patients.  See 
here  what  flocking  there  was  to  him  froip  all  parts  ; 
great  multitudes  of  people  came,  net  only  from  Ga- 
lilee and  the  country'  about,  but  even  from  Jerusa- 
lem, and  from  Judea,  which  lay  a  great  way  off ; 
for  his  fame  went  throughout  all  Syria,  not  only 
among  all  the  people  of  the  Jews,  but  among  the 
neighbouring  nations,  which,  by  the  report  that  now 
spread  far  and  near  concerning  him,  would  be  pre- 
pared to  receive  his  gospel,  when  afterwards  it 
should  be  brought  them.  This  is  given  as  the  rea- 
son why  multitudes  came  to  him.  Note,  ^^'hat  we 
hear  of  Christ  from  others,  sliould  invite  us  to  him. 
The  queen  of  Sheba  was  induced,  l)v  the  fame  of 
Solomon,  to  pay  him  a  visit.  The  voice  of  fame  is, 
"  Come,  ajid  see."  Christ  both  taught  and  healed. 
Thev  who  came  for  cures,  met  with  insti-uction  con- 
cerning the  things  that  bclo7iged  to  thtir  ficace.  It  is 
well  if  any  thing  will  bring  people  to  Christ ;  and 
they  who  come  to  him,  will  find  more  in  him  than 
they  expected.  These  Syrians,  like  Naaman  the 
Svrian,  coming  to  be  healed  of  their  diseases,  many 
of  them  became  converts,  2  Kings  5.  15,  IT.  They 
sought  health  for  the  bod)-,  and  obtained  the  salva- 
tion of  the  sold  ;  like  Saul,  who  sought  the  asses, 
and  found  the  kingdom.  Yet  it  appeared,  by  the 
issue,  that  many  of  those  who  rejoiced  in  Christ  as  a 
Healer,  forgot  him  as  a  Teacher. 

Now  concerning  the  cures  which  Christ  wrought, 
let  us,  once  for  all,  observe  the  juiracle,  the  me7cy, 
and  the  mystery  of  them. 

(1.)  The  miracle  of  them.     They  were  wrought 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V. 


45 


in  such  a  manner,  as  plainly  spake  them  to  be  the 
immediate  products  of  a  ili%ine  and  supernatural 
power ;  and  they  were  God's  seal  to  his  commis- 
sion.    Nature  could  not  do  these  things,  it  was  the 
God  of  n;\ture  ;  the  cui-es  were  m;uiy,  of  diseases 
incurable  by  the  art  of  the  pliysiciaii,  of  persons 
that  were  strangers,  of  all  ages  and  conditions  ;  the 
cures  were  wrought  openly,  before  many  witnesses, 
in  mixed  compiuiics  of  persons  that  would  h:\\e  de-  | 
nied  the  matter  of  fart,  if  they  could  have  had  any  j 
colour  for  it.     No  cure  ever  failed,  or  was  after-  j 
ward  called  in  question  ;  they  were  wrought  spec-  ; 
dily,  and  not  (as  cures  by  natviral  causes)  graduidlv  ; , 
thev  were  i)crfcct  cures,  and  wrought  with  a  word's 
speaking :  all  which  proves  him  a   Teacher  come  ^ 
from  God,  for,  otherwise,  none  could  have  done  the  ; 
works  that  he  did,  John  3.  2.     He  apjK-als  to  these 
as  credentials,  cli.   11.  4,  5.     John  5.   36.     It  was 
expected  that  the  Messiah  should  work  miracles, 
(John".  31.)  miracles  of  this  nature  ;  (Isa.  35.  5,  6.) 
;uid  we  have  this  indisputalile  proof  of  his  being  the 
Messiah  ;  never  was  there  ;uiy  man  that  did  thus  ; 
and  therefore  his  healing  and  his  preaching  gene- 
rally went  together,  for  the  former  confirmed  the 
latter  ;  thus  here  he  began  to  do  attd  to  teach.  Acts 
1.   1.  j 

(2. )  The  mercy  of  them.  The  miracles  that  | 
Moses  wrouglit,  to  prove  his  mission,  were  mosc  of 
them  plagues  and  judgments,  to  intimate  the  terror 
of  that  dispensation,  though  from  (iod  ;  but  the  mi- 
racles that  Christ  wrought,  were  most  of  them 
cures,  and  all  of  them  (except  the  cursing  of  the 
barren  fig-tree)  blessings  and  favours  ;  for  the  gos- 
pel-dispensation is  founded,  and  built  up,  in  love, 
and  grace,  and  sweetness ;  and  the  management  is 
such  as  tends  not  to  affright  but  to  idlure  us  to  obe-  ' 
dience.  Christ  designed  by  his  cures  to  win  upon 
people,  and  t;)  ingratiate  himself  and  his  doctrine ! 
mto  their  minds,  and  so  to  draw  them  with  the  bands 
of  love,  Hos.  11.  -1.  The  miracle  of  them  proved 
his  doctrine  a  faithful  sailing,  and  convinced  men's 
judgments  ;  the  mercy  of  them  proved  it  ivorthy  of 
alt  acce/ttalion,  and  wrought  u])on  their  affections. 
Tliey  were  not  only  great  works,  but  good  ivorks, 
that  he  shonved  them  from  his  Father  ;  (John  10. 
32. )  and  his  goodness  was  intended  to  lead  men  to  re- 
fientance,  (Rom.  2.  -1.)  as  also  to  show  that  kind- 
ness, and  beneficence,  and  doing  good  to  all,  to  the 
utmost  of  our  power  and  opportunity,  are  essential 
branches  of  that  holy  religion  which  Chi-ist  came 
into  the  world  to  establish. 

(3.)  The  mystery  of  them.  Christ,  by  curing 
bodily  diseases,  intended  to  show  that  his  gi-eat  cr- 
ViUid  into  the  world  was  to  cure  spiritual  maladies. 
He  is  the  Sun  of  Righteousness,  tliat  arises  ivith  this 
healing  tinder  his  'zvings.  As  the  Converter  of  sin- 
ners, he  is  the  Physician  of  souls,  and  has  taught  us 
to  call  him  so,  ch.  9, 12,  13.  Sin  is  tlie  sichiesi,  disease, 
-.ind  torment,  oi the  soul;  Christ  rnme /o  take avjay 
lin,  and  so  to  heal  these.  And  the  particular  stories 
of  the  cures  Christ  wrought,  may  not  only  be  ap- 
plied spiritually,  by  way  of  allusion  and  illustration, 
out,  I  believe,  are  very  much  intended  to  re\eal  to 
us  spiritual  things,  and  to  set  before  us  the  way  and 
method  of  Christ's  dealing  with  souls,  in  their  con- 
version and  santification ;  and  those  cures  are  re- 
corded, that  were  most  significant  and  instiiictive 
this  way  ;  and  they  are  therefore  so  to  be  explained 
and  improved,  to  the  honour  and  praise  of  that  glo- 
rious Redeemer,  'who  forgweth  all  our  iniquities,  and 
J5  healeth  all  our  diseases. 

CHAP.  V. 

Di/s  chapter,  and  the  two  that  Wlonr  it,  are  a  sermon  ;  a  Hi- 
nious  sermon  ;  the  sermon  upon  the  mount.  It  is  the 
loni^est  and  fullest  continued  discourse  of  our  Saviourthat 
u-e  have  upon  record  in  all  the  gospels.     It  is  a  practical 


discourse  ;  lliere  is  not  mucli  of  the  crcdcnda  of  Christi- 
anity in  it— the  things  to  be  believed,  but  it  is  wholly  talfen 
up  with  tlie  agenda — tlie  thinjis  to  be  done  ;  these  Christ 
beiran  with  in  his  prcachins;  lor  if  any  man  will  do  his 
will,  he  shall  know  of  the  doctrine,  whether  it  he  of  God. 
The  circumstances  of  the  sermon  beins  accounted  for, 
(v.  1,2.)  the  sermon  itself  follows,  the  scope  of  which  is, 
not  to  fill  our  heads  willi  notions,  but  to  guide  and  rcjrulatc 
our  practice.  I.  lie  proposes  blessedness  as  the  end,  and 
gives  us  the  character  of  those  who  are  entitled  to  blessed- 
ness, {very  different  from  the  sentiments  of  a  vain  world,) 
in  eight  beatitudes,  which  may  justly  be  called  jiaradoses, 
T.  3..1'J.  II.  He  prescribes  duty  as  the  wav,  and  gives  us  ^^k 
standing  rules  of  that  duty,  lie  directs  his  disciples,  '•,<^|^^ 
To  understand  what  they  arc— the  salt  of  the  earth,  and'^^» 
the  lights  of  the  world,  v.  13. .  17.  2.  To  understand  what 
they  have  to  do — they  are  to  be  governed  by  the  moral  laiv. 
Here  is,  (I.)  A  general  ratification  of  the  law,  and  a  re- 
commendation of  it  to  us,  as  our  rule,  v.  17  . .  20.  (2.)  .\ 
particular  rectification  of  divers  mistakes;  or,  rather,  a 
reformation  of  divers  wilful,  gross  connptions,  which  the 
Scribes  and  Pharisees  had  introduced  in  their  exposition 
of  the  law  ;  and  an  authentic  explication  of  divers  branches 
ivhich  most  needed  to  be  explained  and  vindicated,  v.  20. 
Particularly,  here  is  an  explication,  [1.]  Of  the  si\th  com- 
mandment,' which  forbids  murder,  t.  21 .  .  26.  |2.]  Of  the 
seventh  commandment,  against  adultcrv,  v.  27  .  .  52.  [3.] 
Of  the  tliird  commandment,  v.  33. .  36,  [4.]  Of  the  law 
of  retaliation,  V.  SS  . .  42.  [5.]  Of  the  law  of  brotherly 
love,  V.  43  .  .  48.  And  the  scope  of  the  whole  is,  to  show 
that  the  law  is  spiritual. 

1 .  A  ND  seeing  the  multitudes,  he  went 
jnL  up  into  a  mountain  ;  and  when  he 
was  set,  his  disciples  came  unto  him  :  2. 
And  he  opened  his  mouth,  and  taught  them, 
saying, 

We  have  here  a  general  account  of  this  sermon. 

I.  The  Preacher  was  our  Lord  Jesus,  the  Prince 
of  preachers,  the  great  Prophet  of  his  church,  who 
came  into  the  'd'oiid,  to  be  the  Light  of  the  nvorU. 
The  prophets  and  John  had  done  virtuously  in 
preaching,  but  Christ  excelled  them  all.  He  is  the 
eternal  \\'isdom  that  lay  m  the  bosom  of  the  Father, 
before  all  nvorlds,  and  jierfectly  knew  ins  will ; 
(John  1.  18.)  and  he  is  the  eternal  ^^■ord,  by  whom 
he  has  in  these  last  days  s/ioken  to  us.  The  many 
miraculous  cures  wrought  by  Christ  in  Galilee, 
which  we  read  of  in  the  close  of  the  foregoing  chap- 
ter, were  intended  to  make  way  for  this  scmion,  and 
to  dispose  people  to  recei\e  insti-uctions  from  one  in 
^v■hom  there  appeared  so  much  of  a  divine  power 
and  goodness  ;  and,  probalih',  this  sermon  was  the 
summar>-,  or  rehearsal,  of  what  he  had  preached  up 
and  dow'n  in  the  s\-nagogues  of  Galilee.  His  text 
was,  Re/ient,  for  the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  at  hand. 
This  is  a  sermon  on  the  former  part  of  that  text, 
showing  what  it  is  to  re/ient  ;  it  is  to  reform,  both  m 
judgment  ;md  practice  ;  and  he  here  tells  us  wOiere- 
in,  in  answer  to  that  question,  (Mai.  3.  7.)  ll'herein 
shall  ive  return?  He  afterward  preached  upon  the 
latter  part  of  the  text,  when,  in  divers  parables,  he 
showed  what  the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  like,  ch.  13. 

n.  The  filace  was  a  mountain  in  Galilee.  As  in 
other  things,  so  in  this,  our  Lord  Jesus  was  but  ill 
accommodated ;  he  had  no  convenient  place  to 
preach  in,  anv  more  than  to  lay  his  head  on.  \\  hile 
the  Scribes  aiid  Pharisees  had  Moses'  chair  to  sit  m, 
with  all  possible  case,  honour,  and  state,  and  there 
cori-upted  the  law ;  our  Lord  Jesus,  the  great 
Teacher  of  tnith,  is  driven  out  to  the  desert,  and 
finds  no  better  a  pulpit  than.n  mountain  can  afford  ; 
and  not  one  of  the  hohi  mountains  neither,  net  one  of 
the  mountains  ofZion,  but  a  common  tnountain  ;  bv 
which  Christ  \vould  intimate  that  there  is  no  such 
distinguishing  holiness  of  jilaces  now,  under  th.c  gos- 
pel, as  there  was  under  the  law  ;  but  that  it  is  the 
li-ill  of  God  that  men  should  pray  and  preach  ei'cry 
ifhere,  any  where,  provided  it  be  decent  and  con 
venient.     Christ  preached  this  sermon,  which  was 


46 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V. 


an  exposition  of  the  law,  upon  a  mountain,  because 
upon  a  7nountain  the  law  was  given  ;  and  this  was 
also  a  solemn  promulgation  of  the  christian  law. 
But  observe  the  difference  :  when  the  lavj  luas  given, 
the  Lord  came  do'iVn  upon  the  7nountain  ;  now  tine 
Lord  went  u/i :  then,  he  spake  in  thunder  and  light- 
ning ;  now,  in  a  still  small  voice ;  then  the  people 
were  ordered  to  keep  their  distance  ;  now  thev  are 
invited  to  draw  near  :  a  blessed  change  I  If  God's 
grace  and  goodness  are  (as  certainly  they  are)  his 
glory,  then  the  glory  of  the  gospel  is  the  glory  that 
excels,  ior  grace  and  truth  came  by  Jesus  Christ,  2 
Cor.  3.  7.  Heb.  12.  18.  &c.  It  was  foretold  of  Ze- 
bulun  and  Issachar,  two  of  the  triljes  of  Galilee, 
(Deut.  33.  19.)  that  they  shall  call  the  fieople  to  the 
mountain  ;  to  this  mountain  we  are  called,  to  learn 
.'1  offer  the  sacrifices  of  righteousness.  Now  was  this 
the  mountain  of  the  Lord,  where  he  taught  us  his 
ways,  Isa.  2.   2,  3.     Mic.  4.   1,  2. 

III.  The  auditors  were  his  disciples,  who  came 
unto  him  ;  came  at  his  call,  as  appears  bv  compar- 
ing Mark  3.  13.  Luke  6.  13.  To  them  he  directed 
his  speecli,  because  they  followed  him  for  \o\e  and 
learning,  while  others  attended  him  only  for  cui'es. 
He  taught  them,  because  they  were  willing  to  be 
taught ;  (the  meek  mill  he  teach  his  r.my  ;J  because 
they  would  understand  what  he  taught,  which  to 
others  was  foolishness ;  and  because  tliey  were  to 
teach  others ;  and  it  was  therefore  requisite  that 
they  should  have  a  clear  and  distinct  knowledge  of 
these  things  themselves.  The  duties  prescribed  in 
this  sermon  were  to  be  conscientiously  performed 
by  all  those  that  would  enter  into  that  Icingdom  of 
heaven  which  they  were  sent  to  set  up,  with  hope 
to  ha\'e  the  benefit  of  it.  But  though  this  discourse 
was  directed  to  the  disciples,  it  was  in  the  hearing 
of  the  multitude  ;  for  it  is  said,  {ch.  7.  28. )  The  peo- 
ple vjere  astonished.  No  bounds  were  set  about  this 
mountain,  to  keep  the  people  off,  as  were  about 
mount  Sinai;  (Exod.  19.  12.)  for,  through  Christ, 
we  have  access  to  Ciod,  not  only  to  speak  to  him, 
but  to  hear  from  him.  Nay,  he  had  an  c\'e  to  the 
multitude,  in  preaching  this  scmion.  When  the 
fame  of  his  miracles  had  brought  a  vast  crowd  to- 
gether, he  took  the  opportunity  of  so  great  a  con- 
fluence of  people,  to  instruct  them.  Note,  It  is  an 
encouragement  to  a  faithful  minister  to  cast  the  net 
of  the  gospel  where  there  are  a  gi-eat  many  fishes, 
in  hope  that  some  will  be  caught.  The  sight  of  a 
multitude  puts  life  into  a  preacher,  which  yet  must 
arise  from  a  desire  of  tlieir  profit,  not  his  own 
praise. 

IV.  The  solemnity  of  his  sennon  is  intimated  in 
that  word,  luhcn  her^'as  set.  Christ  preached  many 
times  occasionally,  and  by  intcrlocuton'  discourses  ; 
but  this  was  a  set  sermon,  xaS-io-^ifTsc  ctiri,  when  he 
had  placed  himself  so  as  to  be  best  heard.  He  sat 
down  as  a  Judge  or  Lawgiver.  It  intimates  with 
what  sedateness  and  composure  of  mind  the  things 
of  God  should  be  spoken  and  heard.  He  sat,  that 
the  scriptures  might  be  fulfilled,  (Mai.  3.  5.)  He  shall 
sit  as  a  refiner,  to  purge  away  the  dross,  the  coiTupt 
doctrines  of  the  sons  of  Levi.  He  sat  as  in  the  throne, 
judging  right ;  (Ps.  9.  4. )  for  the  word  he  s/iake  shall 
judge  us.  That  phrase.  He  opened  his  mouth,  is 
only  a  Hebrew  periphrasis  of  speaking,  as  Job  3.  1. 
Yet  some  think  it  mtimatcs  the  solemnity  of  this 
discourse ;  the  congi-egation  being  large,  lie  raised 
his  voice,  and  spake  louder  than  usual.  He  had 
spoken  long  by  his  servants  the  prophets,  and  opened 
their  mouths;  ('Ezek.  3.  27. — 24.  27.  33.  22.)  but 
now  ht  opened  his  own,  and  spake  with  freedom,  as 
one  having  authority.  One  of  the  ancients  has  this 
remark  upon  it ;  Chri.st  taught  much  without  open- 
ing his  mouth,  that  is,  by  his  holy  and  exemplary 
life ;  nay,  he  taught,  when,  being  Ifd  as  a  lamb  to 
the  slaughter,  he  opened  not  his  mouth  ;  but  now  he 


aliened  his  mouth,  and  taught,  that  the  scr/ptum 
might  be  fulfilled,  Prov.  8.  1,  2,  6.     Doth  not  Wis- 
dom cry — cry  on  the  top  of  high  places  ?  And  the 
opening  if  her  lips  shall  be  right  things.     He  taught 
them,  according  to  the  promise,  (Isa.   54.  13.;  ^11 
thy  children  shall  be  taught  of  the  Lord;  for  this 
purpose  he  had  the  tongue  of  the  learned,  (Isa.  53.  4.) 
and  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord,  Isa.  61.  1.     He  taughl\ 
them,  what  was  the  evil  they  should  abhor,  andy 
what  the  good  they  should  abide  and  abound  in  ;  fo?\ 
Christianity  is  not  a  matter  of  specidation,  but  is  de- 1 
signed  to  regulate  the  temper  of  our  minds  and  the  I 
tenour  of  our  con\er6ations ;  gospel-time  is  a  time  of  y 
reformation;  (Heb.   9.   10.)  and  by  the  gospel  we 
must  be  reformed,  must  be  made  good,  must  be  made 
better.     The  truth,  as  it  is  in  Jesus,  is  the  truth  wh'rh  ^ 
is  according  to  godliness.  Tit.  1.  1. 

3.  Blessed  are  the  poor  in  spirit:  for 
theirs  is  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  4.  Bless- 
ed arc  the)'  that  mourn :  for  they  shall  be 
comforted.  5.  Blessed  are  the  meek :  for 
they  shall  inherit  the  earth.  6.  Blessed 
are  they  ^\•hich  do  hunger  and  thirst  after 
righteousness :  for  they  shall  be  filled.  7. 
Blessed  are  the  merciful:  for  they  shall 
obtain  mercy.  8.  Blessed  are  the  pure  hi 
heart:  for  they  shall  see  God.  9.  Blessed 
are  the  peacemakers :  for  they  shall  b<! 
called  the  children  of  God.  10.  Blessed 
are  they  which  are  persecuted  for  righte- 
ousness' sake :  for  theirs  is  the  kingdom  oi" 
hea\"en.  1 1 .  Blessed  are  ye,  when  men 
shall  revile  you,  and  persecute  yov,  and 
shall  say  all  manner  of  evil  against  you 
falsely  for  my  sake.  12.  Rejoice,  and  be 
exceeding  glad:  for  great  m  your  reward 
in  heaven :  for  so  persecuted  they  the  pro- 
phets which  were  before  you. 

Christ  begins  his  sermon  with  lilessings,  for  he 
came  into  the  world  to  bless  lis,  (Acts  3.  26.)  as  the 
great  Iligh-Priest  of  our  profession  ;  as  the  bl'ssed 
Melchizedec  ;  as  He  in  whom  all  the  families  of  tht 
earth  should  be  blessed.  Gen.  12.  3.  He  came  not 
only  to  purchase  blessings  for  us,  but  to  pcurout  and 
pronounce  blessings  on  us ;  and  here  he  does  it  aa 
one  having  authority,  as  one  that  can  comma?id  the 
blessing,  ex'cn  life  for  eT.'ermore,  and  that  is  the  bless- 
ing here  agaiji  and  again  promised  to  the  good  ;  his 
pronouncing  of  them  happy  makes  them  so ;  for 
those  whom  he  blesses,  are  blessed  indeed.  The 
Old  Testament  ended  with  a  curse,  (Mai.  4.  6.)  the 
gospel  begins  with  a  blessing ;  for  hereunto  arc  we 
called,  that  we  should  inherit  the  blessing.  Each  of 
the  blessings  Christ  here  pronounces  has  a  double 
intention  ;  1.  To  show  who  they  are  that  are  to  be 
accounted  truly  happy,  and  what  their  character 
are.  2.  \\'hat'that  is-^wherein  ti-ue  happiness  con- 
sists in  the  promises  made  to  persons  of  ceitain  cha- 
racters, the  perfoiTnance  of  which  will  make  them 
happv.     Now, 

1.  This  is  designed  to  rectify  the  ruinous  mistakes 
of  a  blind  and  carnal  world.  Blessedness  is  the 
thing  which  men  pretend  to  pursue  ;  JVho  will  make 
us  to  see  goody  Ps.  4.  6.  But  most  mistake  the  end, 
and  form  a  wrong  notion  of  happiness  ;  and  then  no 
wonder  that  they  miss  the  way  ;  they  choose  their 
own  delusions,  and  court  a  shadow.  The  genei-al 
opinion  is,  Blessed  and  hapfiy  are  they  that  are  rich, 
and  great,  and  honourable  in  the  world ;  that  spend 
their  days  in  mirth,  and  their  years  in  pleasure ;  that 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V. 


47 


ent  the  fat,  and  drink  the  sweet,  and  carry  all  before 
them  with  a  high  hiuul,  and  have  every  sheaf  bow- 
ing to  their  sheaf ;  /lapptj  the  Jieofile  that  ia  in  such  a 
case  ;  and  their  designs,  aims,  and  puiiioses  arc  ac- 
cordingly ;  they  bless  the  covetous,  (Ps.  10.  3.)  they 
'.vil/  be  rich.  Now  our  Lord  Jesus  comes  to  concct 
this  t'lmdamental  error,  to  advance  a  new  hypothesis, 
and  to  give  us  quite  another  notion  of  blessedness  anil 
blessed  people,  which,  however  paradoxical  it  mav 
appear  to  those  who  arc  prejudiced,  vet  is  in  itself, 
and  a])pears  to  be  to  all  who  ai-e  savingly  enlightened, 
a  nile  and  doctrine  of  eternal  truth  and  ceitaint)-,  bv 
which  wc  must  shoitlv  be  judircd.  If  this,  there'foi-c, 
he  the  beginning  of  Christ's  (loctrine,  the  Ijcginning 
of  a  christian's  practice  must  be  to  take  his  measures 
of  hapjjiness  from  those  maxims,  and  to  direct  his 
pursuits  ;>.ccoixlingly. 

2.  h  is  designed  to  remove  the  discouragements  of 
the  weak  and  poor  who  receive  the  gospel,  by  as- 
suring them  that  his  gospel  did  not  make  those  only 
happ\-  tliat  were  eminent  in  gifts,  graces,  comforts, 
and  usefulness ;  but  that  even  the  /east  in  the  k-ingdom 
of  heaven,  whose  heart  was  upright  with  God,  was 
happy  in  the  honours  and  privileges  of  that  kingdom. 

3.  it  is  designed  to  invite  souls  to  Christ,  and  to 
make  way  for  his  law  into  their  hearts.  Christ's 
pronouncing  these  blessings,  not  at  the  end  of  his 
sermon,  to  dismiss  the  people,  but  at  the  beginning 
of  it,  to  prepare  them  for  what  he  had  fuiiher  to 
say  to  them,  may  remind  us  of  mount  Gerizim  and 
mount  Ebal,  on  which  the  blessings  and  cursings  of 
the  law  were  read,  Deut.  27.  12,  &c.  There  the 
curses  ai-c  cxjiressed,  and  the  blessings  only  implied  ; 
here  the  blessings  arc  expressed,  and  the  curses  im- 
plied :  in  both,  life  and  death  are  set  before  us;  but 
tlie  law  appearell  more  as  a  ministration  of  death, 
to  deter  us  from  sin  ;  the  gospel  as  a  dispensation  of 
life,  to  allure  us  to  Chiist,  in  wliom  alone  all  good  is 
to  be  had.  And  they  who  had  seen  the  gracious 
cures  wrought  by  his'hand,  (ch.  4.  23,  24. )  and  now 
heard  theg-racious  ivcrds /iroceeding  out  of  his  mouth, 
would  say  that  he  was  all  of  a  piece,  made  up  of 
lo\e  and  sweetness. 

4.  It  is  designed  to  settle  and  sum  up  the  articles 
of  agreement  between  God  and  man.  The  scope 
of  the  divine  revelation  is  to  let  us  know  what  (iod 
expects  from  us,  and  what  we  ma\-  then  expert  from 
him  ;  and  no  where  is  this  more  'fulh'  set  forth  in  a 
few  words  than  here,  nor  with  a  more  exact  refer- 
ence to  each  other ;  and  this  is  that  gospel  which  we 
are  required  to  believe  ;  for  what  is  faith  but  a  con- 
fomiity  to  these  characters,  and  a  dependence  upon 
these  i)romises  >  The  way  to  happiness  is  here  open- 
ed, and  made  a  highr.'ay  ;  (Isa.  35.  8. )  and  this  com- 
mg  from  the  mouth  of  Jesus  Christ,  it  is  intimated 
that  from  him,  and  by  him,  we  are  to  recei\e  both 
the  seed  and  the  fruit,  both  the  grace  required,  and 
the  glory  promised.  Nothing  passes  between  God 
and  tallen  man,  but  through  his  hand.  Some  of  the 
wiser  heathen  had  notions  of  Ijlessedness  different 
from  the  rest  of  mankind,  and  looking  toward  this 
of  cur  SaWour.  Seneca,  undertaking  to  describe  a 
blessed  man,  makes  it  out,  that  it  is  only  an  ho- 
nest, good  man  that  is  to  be  so  called  :  De  Jlld  be- 
atd,  cap.  iv.  Cui  milium  bonum  mnhimqiiesit,  nisi 
bonus  malusque animus — Quemyiec  exiollant  fortui- 
ta,  necfrangant— Cui  vera  volu/itcs  erit  volu'ptatum 
contemptio — Cui  unum  bonum  honestas,  vnum  ma- 
lum turfiitudo.—In  ni'hose  estimation  nothing  is  i;ood 
or  evil,  but  a  good  or  ex'il  heart— Wwm  no  occur- 
rences elate  or  deject—  Whose  true  pleasure  consists 
m  a  contempt  of  pleasure— To  tvhom  the  only  good 
is  virtue,  and  the  only  evil  vice. 

Our  Saviour  here  gives  us  eight  characters  of 
blessed  people,  which  represent  to  us  the  principal 
praces  of  a  christian.  On  each  of  them  a  present 
blessing  is  pronounced  ;   Blessed  are  they :  and  to 


each  a  future  blessedness  is  promised,  which  is  va- 
riously expressed,  so  as  to  suit  the  nature  of  the  grace 
or  duty  reconmicnded. 

])o  we  ask  then  who  are  happy  }  It  is  answered, 
I.  The  poor  in  spirit  are  hapi)\-,  v.  3.     There  is  a 
poor  spiritcdiiess  that  is  so  far  from  making  mi-n 
blessed,  that  it  is  a  sin  and  a  snare — cowardice  and 
base  fear,  and  a  willing  subjection  to  the  lusts  of  men. 
Hut  this  poverty  of  s])irit  is  a  gracious  disposition  of 
soul,  by  which  we  arc  emptied  of  self,  in  order  t<) 
our  being  filled  with  Jesus  Christ.     To  be  poor  ir\ 
spirit,  is,  1.  To  lie  contentedly  poor,  willing  to  bfi 
empty  of  worldly  wealth,  ifCi'od  orders  that  to  be 
our  lot ;  to  bring  our  mind  to  our  condition,  when  it 
is  a  low  condition.     Many  are  i)oor  in  the  woi'ld,  Ijut 
high  in  spirit,  poor  and  proud,  murnmring  and  com- 
plaining, and  blaming  their  lot,  but  we  must  accom- 
modate oursches  to  our  po\  erty,  must  hnoiv  koiv  to 
he  abased,  Phil.  4.  12.     .Acknowledging  the  wisdom> 
of  C;od  in  appointing  us  to  jjoverty,  we  must  be  easy 
in   it,  patiently  bear  the  inconveniences  of  ;t,   be 
thankful  for  what  wc  ha\  e,  and  make  the  best  of 
that  which  is.    It  is  to  sit  loose  to  all  w  orldh'  wealth, 
and  not  set  ovir  hearts  upon  it,  but  cheerfully  to  bear 
losses  and  disapjjointments,  which  may  befall  us  in 
the  most  prosperous  state.     It  is  not,  in  pride  or  pre- 
tence, to  make  ourselves  poor,  by  throwing  awav 
what  God  has  given  us,  especially  as  those  in  the 
church  of  Rome,  who  vow  po\erty,  and  yet  engross 
the  wealth  of  nations ;  but,  if  wc  be  rich  iri  the  world, 
we  must  be  poor  in  spirit,  that  is,  we  must  conde- 
scend to  the  poor,  and  sympathize  with  them,  as 
being  touched  with  the  feeling  of  their  infirmities  ; 
wc  must  expect  and  prepare  for  po\erty  ;  must  not 
inordinately  fear  or  shun  it,  but  must  bid  it  welcome, 
especially  when  it  comes  upon  us  for  keeping  a  good 
conscience,  Heb.   10.   34.     Job  was  poor  in  s/iirit, 
when  he  blessed  God  in  taking  ar.-ay,  as  well  as  giv- 
ing.   2.  It  is  to  be  humble  and  lowly  in  our  own  ej'cs. 
To  be  poor  in  s/iirit,  is  to  think  meanly  of  ourselves, 
of  what  wc  are,  and  have,  and  do  ;  the  poor  are  of- 
ten taken  in  the  Old  Testament  for  the  humble  and 
self-denying,  as  opposed  to  those  that  are  at  ease, 
and  the  proud  ;  it  is  to  be  as  little  children  in  cur 
opinion  of  ourselves,  weak,  foolish,  and  insignificant, 
ch.  IS.  4. — 19.  14.     'Laod\cQ?i\v^s  poor  in  spirituals, 
wretchedly  and  miserably  poor,  and  yet  rich  in  spi- 
rit, so  well  increased  with  goods,  as  to  have  need  of 
nothing,  Re\-.  3.  1"      On  the  other  hand,  Paul  was 
rich  in  spirituals,  excelling  most  in  gifts  and  graces, 
and  yet  poor  in  spirit,  the  least  of  the  apostles,  less 
than  the  least  of  all  saints,  and  nothing  in  his  own 
account.     It  is  to  look  with  a  holy  contempt  u])on 
ourselves,  to  value  others,  and  undervalue  oursches 
in  comparison  of  them.     It  is  to  be  willing  to  make 
oui-selvcs  cheap,  and  mean,  and  little,  to  do  good  ; 
to  become  ch  things  to  all  mm.     It  is  to  acknowledge 
that  God  is  great,  and  we  are  mean  ;  that  he  is  holy, 
and  we  are  sinful ;  that  he  is  all,  and  wc  are  nothing, 
less  than  nothinsr,  worse  than  nothing ;  and  to  hum- 
ble ourselves  before  him,  and  under  his  mighty  hand. 
3.  It  is  to  come  off  from  all  confidence  in  our  own 
righteousness  and  strength,  th.at  we  may  depend  only 
upon  the  merit  of  Christ  for  our  justification,  and 
the  Spirit  and  gi-ace  of  Christ  for  our  sanctificatirn. 
That  broken  and  contrite  spirit  with  which  the  pub- 
lican cried  for  mercy  to  a  poor  sinner,  is  this  poverty 
of  spirit.     '\\'e  must  call  ourselves  poor,  because  al- 
ways in  want  of  God's  grace,  always  begging  at  God's 
door,  ahvavs  hanging  on  in  his  house. 

Now,  (1.)  This  poverty  in  spirit  isput  first  among 
the  christian  graces.  The  philosophers  did  not 
reckon  humility  among  their  moral  virtues,  but 
Christ  puts  it  fii'-st.  Self-denial  is  the  first  lesson  to 
be  learned  in  his  school,  and  poverty  of  spirit  enti- 
tled to  the  first  beatiuide.  The  foundation  of  all 
other  graces  is  laid  in  humility.     Those  who  would 


48 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V. 


build  high,  must  begin  low  ;  and  it  is  an  excellent 
preparative  for  the  entrance  of  gospel-grace  into  the 
soul ;  it  fits  the  soil  to  receive  the  seed.  Those  nvho 
are  rjeary  and  heavy  laden,  are  the  poor  in  spirit, 
and  they  shall  find  rest  ^v-ith  Christ. 

(2.)  They  are  blessed.  Now  they  are  so,  in  this 
world.  God  looks  graciously  upon  them.  Tliey 
are  his  little  ones,  and  have  their  angels.  To  them 
he  gives  more  gi-ace  ;  they  live  the  most  comfortable 
lives,  and  are  easy  to  themselves  and  all  about  them, 
and  nothing  comes  amiss  to  them  ;  while  high  spirits 
are  always  uneasy. 

(3.)  Theirs  is  the  kingdom  of  heax'eti.  The  king- 
dom ol  grace  is  composed  of  such  ;  they  only  are  ht 
to  be  members  of  Christ's  church,  which  is  called 
the  congregation  of  the  floor  ;  (Ps.  "4.  19.)  the  king- 
dom oi glory  is  prepared  for  them.  Those  who  tluis 
humble  themselves,  and  comply  with  God  when  he 
humbles  them,  shall  be  thus  exalted.  The  great, 
high  sj)iritsgo  away  with  the  glon-  oi  the  kingdoms 
of  the  earth ;  but  the  humble,  mild,  and  j'ielding 
souls  obtain  the  glory  of  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  We 
are  ready  to  think  concerning  those  w'ho  are  rich, 
and  do  good  with  their  riches,  that,  no  doubt,  theirs 
is  the  kingdom  of  lieaven  ;  for  they  can  thus  lay  up 
in  store  a  good  security  for  the  time  to  come :  but 
what  shall  the  poor  do,  who  have  not  wherewithal 
to  do  good  ?  Why,  the  same  h.appiness  is  promised 
to  those  who  are  contentedly  poor,  as  to  those  who 
are  usefully  rich.  If  I  am  not  able  to  s/iend  cheer- 
fully for  his  sake,  if  I  can  but  won?  clieerfvilly  for 
his  sake,  even  that  shall  be  recompensed.  And  do 
not  we  serve  a  good  Master  then  ? 

II.  They  that  jnourn  are  happy  ;  (xi.  4.)  Blessed 
are  they  that  mourn.  This  is  anotlier  strange  bless- 
ing, and  fitly  follows  the  former.  The  poor  are  ac- 
customed to  mouni,  the  graciously  poor  mourn  gi-.a- 
ciously.  W'e  are  apt  to  think,  Blessed  arc  the  mer- 
ry ;  but  Christ,  who  was  himself  a  gi-eat  Mourner, 
says.  Blessed  are  the  mourners.  There  is  a  sinful 
mourning,  wliich  is  an  enemy  to  olesscdness — the 
korroiv  of  the  world ;  despairing  melancholv  upon  a 
spiritual  account,  and  disconsolate  grief  upon  a  tem- 
poral account.  There  is  a  natural  mournmg,  which 
may  prove  a  friend  to  blessedness,  by  the  grace  of 
God  working  with  it,  and  sanctifying  the  afflictions 
to  us,  for  which  we  mourn.  But  there  is  a  gracious 
mourning,  which  qualifies  for  blessedness,  a  hal)i- 
tual  seriousness,  the  mind  mortified  to  mirth,  and  an 
actual  sorrow.  1.  A  penitential  mourning  for  our 
own  sins  ;  this  is  god/y  sorroiv,  a  sorrow  according 
to  God  ;  sorrow  for  sin,  with  an  eye  to  Christ,  Zech. 
12.  10.  Those  are  CJod's  mourners,  who  live  a  life 
of  repentance,  who  lament  the  corruption  of  their 
nature,  and  tlieir  many  actual  transgi-essions,  and 
God's  witlidrawings  from  them ;  and  who,  out  of 
regard  to  God's  honour,  movu-n  also  for  th.c  sins  of 
others,  and  sigh  and  cry  for  their  abominations, 
Ezek.  9.  4.  2.  A  sympathizing  moui-ning  for  the 
afflictions  of  others ;  the  moui-ning  of  those  whoTCcc/i 
with  them  that  iveefi,  are  sorro\\  ful  for  the  sole?nn 
assemblies,  for  the  desolations  of  Ziori,  (Zcph.  3.  IS. 
P.S.  _13r.  1.)  especially  who  look  with  compassion  on 
perishing  souls,  and  iveefi  over  them,  as  Christ  over 
Jerusalem. 

Now  these  gracious  mourners,  (1.)  .'Ire  blessed. 
Asin  vain  and  sinful  laughter  the  heart  is  sorrowful, 
so  in  gracious  mourning  "the  heart  has  a  serious  joy, 
a  secret  satisfaction,  which  a  stranger  does  not  in- 
termeddle with.  They  are  blessed,"iQr  they  are  like 
the  Lord  Jesus,  who  was  a  man  of  sorrows,  and  of 
Avhom  we  never  read  that  he  laughed,  but  often  that 
hewept  They  are  armed  against  the  many  temp- 
tations that  attend  vain  mii'th,  and  are  prepared  for 
the  comforts  of  a  sealed  pardon  and  a  settled  peace. 
(2. )  Theit  shall  be  comforted.  Though  perhaps  they 
are  not  immediateh-  comforted,  yet  plentiful  pro\i- 


sion  is  made  for  their  comfort ;  light  is  sovm  for 
them ;  and  in  heaven,  it  is  certain,  they  shall  be 
comforted,  as  Lazarus,  Luke  16.  25.  Note,  The 
happiness  of  heaven  consists  in  being  perfectly  and 
eternally  comforted,  and  in  the  wiping  away  of  all 
tears  from  their  eyes.  It  is  the  joy  oj'  our  Loid; 
a  fulness  of  joy  and  pleasures  for  evermore  ;  which 
will  be  doubly  sweet  to  those  who  have  liecn  pre- 
pared for  them  l)y  this  godly  sorrow.  Heaven  will 
be  heaven  indeed  to  those  who  go  mourning  thither; 
it  will  be  a  harvest  of  joy,  the  return  of  a  seed-time 
of  tears;  (Ps.  126.  5,  6.)  a  mountain  of  joy,  to  which 
our  way  lies  througli  a  \  ale  of  tears.  See  Isa.  66.  10; 

III.  The  7neek  are  happy  ;  {v.  5.)  Blessed  are  thh\ 
meek.     The  meek  are  those  who  quietly  submit  \ 
themselves  to  Ciod,  to  his  word  and  to  his  rod,  who  7 
follow  his  directions,  and  comply  with  his  designs,  / 
and  are  getitle  towards  all  men  ;  (Tit.  3.  2.)  who' 
can  bear  provocation  without  being  inflamed  oy  it ; 
are  either  silent,  or  return  a  soft  answer  ;  and  who 
can  show  their  displeasure,  when  there  is  occasion 
for  it,  without  being  transported  into  an}'  indecen- 
cies ;  who  can  be  cool  when  others  are  hot ;  and  m 
their  patience  keep  possession  of  their  own  souls, 
when  they  can  scarcely  keep  possession  of  any  thing 
else,    lliey  are  the  meek,  who  are  rarely  and  hard- 
ly provoked,  but  quickly  and  easily  pacified ;  and 
who  would  rather  forgive  twenty  injuries  than  re- 
venge one,  having  the  nde  of  their  own  spirits.       ' 

These  meek  ones  are  here  represented  as  happy, 
even  in  this  world.     1.  They  are  blessed,  for  they 
are  like  the  blessed  Jesus,  in  that  wherein  particu 
larly  they  are  to  learn  of  him,  ch.  1 1.  29.    They  are 
like  the  blessed  God  himself,  who  is  Lord  of  his  am 
ger,  and  in  whom  fury  is  not.     They  are  blessed,  for 
they  have  the  most  comfortable,  undisturbed  enjoy- 
ment of  themselves,  their  fiiends,  their  God  ;  they 
are  fit  for  any  relation,  any  condition,  any  company ; 
fit  to  live,  aiid  fit  to  die.     2.  They  shall  inherit  the 
earth;  it  is  quoted  ftom  Ps.  37.  11.  and  it  is  aimcst 
the  onl\-  express  temporal  promise  in  all  the  New 
Testament.     Not  that  they  shall  always ha^e  much 
of  the  earth,  much  less  that  they  shall  be  put  cff 
with  that  onh' ;  l)ut  this  branch  of  godliness  has,  in 
a  special  manner,  the  jiromise  of  the  life  that  now  is. 
Meekness,  however  ridiculed  and  run  down,  has  a.^ 
real  tendency  to  promote  our  health,  wealth,  com-,' 
fort,  and  safety,  even  in  this  world.     The  meek  and 
quiet  are  observed  to  live  tlic  mrst  easy  lives,  com-, 
pared  with  the  frowai-d  ::nd  turbulent.     Or,  T/iey 
shall  inherit  the  land,  (so  it  may  be  read,)  the  land 
of  Canaan,  a  type  of  heaven.     So  that  all  the  bless-'i 
edness  of  hea-v-en  above,  and  all  the  blessings  of  earth  ; 
beneath,  are  the  portion  of  the  meek. 

I'V.  They  that  hunger  and  thirst  after  righteous- 
ness are  happv,  v.  6.  Some  understand  this  as  a 
further  instance  of  outward  poverty,  and  a  low  con- 
dition in  this  world,  which  not  only  exposes  men  to 
injury  and  wrong,  but  makes  it  in  vain  for  them  to 
seek  to  have  justice  done  them  ;  they  hunger  and 
thirst  after  it,  but  such  is  the  power  en  the  side  cf 
their  oppressors,  that  they  cannot  have  it ;  they  de- 
sire only  that  which  is  just  and  equal,  but  it  is  de- 
nied them  by  those  that  neitha-fear  God7iorregara 
man.  This  is  a  melancholy  case  !  Yet,  blessed  are 
then,  if  thev  suffer  these  hardships  for  and  with  a 
good  conscience  ;  let  them  hope  in  God,  who  will 
see  justice  done,  right  take  place,  and  will  deVncr 
the  poor  from  their  oppressors,  Ps.  103.  6.  Those 
who  contentedly  bear  oppression,  and  quietly  rcfe" 
themselves  to  God  to  plead  their  caiise.  shall  in  due 
time  be  satisfied,  abundantly  satisfied,  in  xhe  wis- 
dom and  kindness  which  shall  be  manifested  in  Ids 
appearances  for  them.  But  it  is  certainly  to  be  un- 
derstood spiritually,  of  such  a  desire  as,  being  ter- 
minated en  such  an  object,  is  er-acirus.  and  the  work 
of  God's  grace  in  the  soul,  and  qualifies  fci-  the  gift> 


ST.  MAT'l'HEW,  V. 


40 


if  the  divine  favour.     1.  Righteousness  is  here  put 
for  all  si)iritual  blessings.     See  Ps.  24.  S.—ch.  6.  33. 
They  are  purchased  tor  us  by  the  rig/iteotimess  of 
Christ ;  conveyed  and  secured  l)y  the  imi)utation  of 
that  rigliteousness  to  us ;   and  confirmed  1)V  the 
faithfuhiess  of  (iod.     To  liave  C'lirist  made  of  God 
to  us  liisfhieoustirss,  and  to  be  made  the  righteous- 
ness of  God  in  him ;  to  liave  the  whole  man  rene^v- 
id  in  righteousness,  so  as  to  become  a  neir  mail, 
:ind  to  l)ear  the  image  of  God  ;  to  have  an  interest 
in  Christ  and  tlie  iironiises — tliis  is  righteousness. 
2.  These  we  must  hunger  and  thirst  after.     We 
must  tnily  :md  rcall)-  desire  them,  as  one  who  is 
liungry  and  thirstv  desiivs  meat  and  drink,   wlio 
cannot  be  satisfied   with  any  thing  but  meat   and 
drink,  and  will  be  satisfied  with  them,  though  other 
things  l)e  wajiting.  Our  desires  of  siiiritual  blessings 
must  be  earnest  and  importunate  ;  "  Give  ;;if  these, 
or  else  I  die;  every  thmg  else  is  dross  and  chaff, 
unsatisfying ;  give  me  these,   and  I  have  enough, 
though  1  had  notliing  else."    Hunger  and  thirst  are 
ap])etites  tliat  return  frequently,  and  call  for  fresh 
satisfactions  ;  so  these  holy  desires  rest  not  in  any 
thing  attained,  but  are  carried  out  to\vard  renewed  I 
pardons,  and  daily  fresh  supplies  of  gi-ace.     The 
quickened  soul  calls  for  constant  meals  of  righteous- 
ness, srace  to  do  the  work  of  even'  day  in  its  day, 
■as  duly  as  the  living  body  calls  for  food.  Those  who 
hunger  and  thirst  will  labour  for  supplies ;  so  we  i 
must  not  only  desire  spiritual  blessings,  but  take 
pains  for  them  in  the  use  of  the  appointed  means. 
Dr.  Hammond,  in  his  Practical  Catechism,  distin- 
guishes between  hunger  and  thirst.     Hunger  is  a 
desire  of  food  to  sustain,  such  is  sanctifv-ing  righte- 
ousness.    Thirst  is  the  desire  of  drink  to  refresh, 
such  is  justifying  righteousness,  and  the  sense  of  our 
pardon.  1 

Those  who  thus  hunger  and  thirst  after  spiritual 
blessings,  are  blessed  in  those  desires,  and  shall  he 
filled  with  those  blessings.  (I.)  Thcv  are  blessed  in  ' 
those  desires.  Though  all  desires  of  grace  are  not 
grace,  (feigned,  faint  desires  are  not,)  \et  such  a  de- 
sire as  this,  is  ;  it  is  an  evidence  of  something  good, 
and  an  earnest  of  something  better.  It  is  a  desire  of ' 
God's  own  raising,  and  he  will  not  forsake  the  work 
)f  his  own  hands.  Something  or  other  the  soul  will 
be  hungering  and  thirsting  after  ;  therefore  theu  are 
blessed  who  fasten  upon  the  right  object,  which  is 
satisfving,  and  not  deceiving ;  and  do  not  /lant  after 
the  Just  of  the  earth,  Amos  2.  7.  Isx  55.  2.  (2. ) 
They  shall  be  ^filled  with  those  blessings.  Ciod  will 
give  them  what  they  desire  to  their  complete  satis- 
faction. It  is  God  only  who  can  fill  a  -loul,  whose 
grace  and  favour  are  adequate  to  its  just  desires ; 
and  he  will  fill  those  with  grace  for  grace,  who,  in 
a  sense  of  their  own  emptiness,  have  recourse  to  his 
fulness.  Kc  fills  the  hungry,  (Luke  1.  53.)  satiates 
tl'.em,  Jer.  3i.  25.  The  happiness  of  heaven  will 
certainly  fill  the  soul  ;  their  righteousness  shall  be 
complete,  the  favour  of  God  and  his  image,  both  in 
their  full  perfection. 

V.  'I'he  tnerciful  are  happy,  i:  7.    This,  like  the 
i-est,  is  a  paradox ;  for  the  merciful  are  not  taken 
to  be  the  wisest,  nor  are  likely  to  be  the  richest ; 
yet  Christ  pronounces  them  blessed.    Those  are  the 
merciful,  who  are  piously  and  charitabh'  inclined  to 
j  pity,  help,  and  succour,  persons  in  misen".     A  man 
I  may  be  ti-uly  merciful,  who  has  not  wherewithal  to 
j  be  bountiful  or  liberal ;  and  then  God  accepts  the 
\willing  mind.     \\'e  must  not  only  bear  our  own  af- 
nictions  patiently,  but  we  must,  by  christian  sym- 
pathy, parttike  of  the  afflictions  of  our  bretliren  ; 
pity  mvist  be  showed,  (Job  6.   14.)  and  bon-els  of 
mercy  fiut  on  ;  (Col.  3.  12.)  and,  being  put  on,  thcv 
must  put  forth  themselves  in  contributing  all  we  can 
for  the  assistance  of  those  who  are  any  way  in  mise- 
■  rv'.     We  must  have  compassion  on  the  souls  of  oth- 
Vol.  v.— G 


ers,  and  help  them  ;  pity  the  ignorant,  and  instruct 
them  ;  the  careless,  and  wani  tliem  ;  those  who  are 
in  a  state  of  sin,  and  snatch  them  as  brands  out  of 
the  burning.  We  nuist  have  com])assion  on  those 
who  arc  melancholy  and  in  sonow,  and  comfort 
them  ;  (Job  16.  5.)  on  those  whom  we  have  advan- 
tage against,  and  not  be  rigorous  and  severe  with 
them  ;  on  those  who  are  in  want,  and  supply  them  ; 
which  if  we  refuse  to  do,  whatc\ er  we  jnetend,  we 
shut  ufi  the  hijivels  of  our  com/iassion,  James  2.  15, 
16.  1  John  3.  17,  IK.  Dram  out  thy  soul  \i\  deal- 
ing thy  bread  to  tlic  hvmgn-,  Isa.  58.  7,  10.  Nay,  a 
good  ma?i  is  merciful  to  his  beast. 

Now,  as  to  the  merciful,  1.  They  are  blessed  ;  so 
it  was  said  in  the  Old  Testament  ;  Blessed  is  he  that 
considers  the  /ioor,Vs.  41.  1.  Herein  they  resem- 
ble God,  whose  goodness  is  his  gloiy  ;  in  being  tner- 
ciful  as  he  is  merciful,  we  are,  in  our  measure,  ficr- 
fect  as  he  is  fierfect.  It  is  an  evidence  of  love  to  ^ 
God  ;  it  will  be  a  satisfaction  to  ourselves,  to  Ije  anv  ) 
way  instrumental  for  the  benefit  of  others.  One  of  ' 
the  purest  and  most  refined  delights  in  this  world, 
is  that  of  doing  good.  In  this  word,  Jilessed  are  the 
merciful,  is  included  that  saying  of  Chi-ist,  which 
otherwise  we  find  not  in  the  gospels,  It  is  more  bless- 
ed to  gri'e  than  to  receri'e.  Acts  20.  35.  2.  They  shall 
obtain  mercy  ;  mercy  nvilh  meti,  when  they  need  it ; 
he  that  ii'aterelh,  shall  be  ivatered  also  himself;  we 
know  not  how  soon  we  may  stand  in  need  of  kind- 
ness, and  therefore  should  be  kind  ;  but  especially 
mercy  tvith  God,  ior  leifh  the  merciful  he  noill  shoiv 
himself  merciful,  Ps.  18.  25.  The  most  merciful 
and  charitable  cannot  pretend  to  merit,  b\it  must  fly 
to  merc\'.  The  merciful  shall  find  with  C;od  spar- 
ing mercy,  (cA.  6.  14.)  su/ifilying  mere}-,  (Prov.  19. 
17.)  sustaining  mercy,  (Ps.  41.  2.)  mercy  in  that 
day;  (2  Tim.  1.  18.)  nay,  they  shall  inherit  the 
kingdom  fire/iared for  them  ;  {ch.  25.  34,  35.)  where- 
as they  shall  ha^ve  judgment  '.i-ithout  mercy,  (whicn 
can  be  nothing  short  ai  hcll-Jire,)  who  have  shoived 
no  mercy. 

VI.  The  fiure  in  heart  are  happy  ;  {v.  8.)  Blessed 
are  the  pure  in  heart,  for  they  shall  see  God.  This 
is  the  most  comprehensive  of  all  the  beatitudes ; 
here  holiness  and  happiness  are  fully  described  and 
put  together. 

1.  Here  is  the  most  comprehensri'e  character  of 
the  blessed  ;  they  are  the  pure  in  heart.  Note, 
True  religion  consists  in  heart-purity.     Those  who 

1  are  inwardly  pure,  show  themselves  to  be  under  the 
power  of  /nire  and  undejiled  religion.     Tiiie  Chris- 
tianity lies  in  the  heart,  in  the  purity  of  the  heart ; 
the  -ieashing  of  that  from  •ii'ick-edness,  Jer.  4.  14. 
We  must  lift  up  to  God,  not  only  clean  hands,  but  a 
pure  heart,  Ps.  24.  4,  5.     1  Tim.  1.  5.     The  heart 
must  be  pure,  in  opposition  to  inijrlure — an  honest 
heart  that  aims  well ;  and  pure,   in  opposition  to 
I  pollution  and  defilemeirt ;  as  wine  unmixed,  as  water 
I  ttnmuddied.     The  heart  must  be  kept  pure  from 
\  fleshly  lusts,  all  unchaste  thoughts  and  desires  ;  and 
from  kvorldlu  lusfs ;  covetousncss  is  called  ^filthy  lu- 
cre ;  from  ail  filthiness  of  flesh  and  spirit,  all  that 
which  comes  out  of  the  heart,  and  defies  the  man. 
The  heart  must  be  purified  by  faitJi,  and  entire  for 
Ciod  ;  must  be  presented  and  preserved  a  chaste 
virein  to  Christ.     Create  in  me  such  a  clean  heart, 
'<  0  God.' 

2.  Here  is  the  most  comprehensh'e  comfort  of  the 
blessed  ;  They  shall  see  God.  Note,  (1.)  It  is  the 
perfection  of  the  soul's  happiness  to  see  God  ;  see- 
ing him,  as  we  may  by  faith  in  our  present  state,  is 

!  a  heave?i  upon  earth  ;  and  seeing  him  as  we  shall  in 
the  future  state,  is  the  heaven  of  heaven.  To  see 
him  as  he  is,  face  to  face,  and  no  longer  through  a 
glass  darkly  ;  to  see  him  as  oui-s,  and  to  see  him 
and  enjoy  him  :  to  see  him  and  be  like  him,  and  be 
satisfied  with  that  likeness ;  (Ps.  17.  15.)  and  to  see 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V. 


him  for  ever,  and  ne\'er  lose  the  sight  of  him  ;  this 
is  heaven's  happiness.  (2.)  The  happiness  of  seeing 
God  is  promised  to  those,  and  those  only,  who  are 
fiure  in  heart.  None  but  the  fiurc  are  capable  of 
seeing  God,  nor  would  it  be  a  felicity  to  the  impure. 
What  pleasure  could  an  unsanctified  soul  take  in  the 
vision  of  a  holy  God  ?  As  he  cannot  endure  to  look 
upon  their  iniquity,  so  they  cannot  endure  to  look 
upon  his  purity  ;  nor  shall  any  unclean  thing  enter 
mto  the  new  Jerusalem;  but  all  that  are  liure  in 
heart,  all  that  ai'e  ti-uly  sanctified,  have  desires 
wrought  in  them,  whiali  nothing  but  the  sight  of 
God  will  satisfy ;  and  divine  grace  will  not  leave 
those  desires  unsatisfied. 

r  VII.  The  peace-makers  are  happy,  v.  9.  The 
/  wisdom  that  is  from  above,  is  first  pure,  and  then 
/  peaceable;  the  blessed  ones  are /2i«Y  toward  God, 
and  peaceable  toward  men ;  for  with  reference  to 
both,  conscience  must  be  kept  void  of  offence.  The 
peace-makers  are  those  who  have,  1.  A  peaceable 
disposition  :  as,  to  make  a  tie,  is  to  be  given  and  ad- 
dicted to  lying,  so,  to  make  peace,  is  to  have  a  strong 
and  hearty  affection  to  peace.  lam  for  peace,  Ps. 
120.  7.  It  is  to  love,  and  desire,  and  delight  in 
peace  ;  to  be  in  it  as  in  our  element,  and  to  study  to 
be  quiet.  2.  A  peaceable  conversation  ;  industrious- 
ly, as  far  as  we  can,  to  preserve  the  peace,  that  it  be 
not  broken,  and  to  recover  it  when  it  is  broken  ;  to 
hearken  to  proposals  of  peace  oursehes,  and  to  be 
ready  to  make  them  to  others;  where  distance  is 
among  brethren  and  neighbours,  to  do  all  we  can  to 
accommodate  it,  and  to  be  repairers  of  the  breaches. 
The  making  of  peace  is  sometimes  a  thankless  of- 
fice, and  it  is  the  lot  of  him  who  parts  a  fray,  to 
have  bloivs  on  both  sides  ;  yet  it  is  a  good  office,  and 
we  must  be  forward  to  it.  Some  think  that  this  is 
intended  especially  as  a  lesson  for  ministers,  who 
should  do  all  they  can  to  reconcile  those  who  are  at 
variance,  and  to  promote  christian  love  among  those 
under  their  charge. 

Now,  ( 1. )  Such  persons  are  blessed ;  for  they  have 
the  satisfaction  of  enjoying  themselves,  by  keeping 
the  peace,  and  of  being  tmly  serviceable  to  others, 
by  dispoang  them  to  peace.  They  are  working  to- 
gether with  Christ,  who  came  into  the  world  to  slay 
all  enmities,  and  to  jjroclaim  peace  on  earth.  (2.) 
They  shall  be  called  the  children  of  God  ;  it  will  be 
an  evidence  -to  themselves  that  they  are  so ;  God 
will  own  them  as  such,  and  herein  they  will  resem- 
ble him.  He  i-s  the  God  of  peace  ;  the  Son  of  God 
is  the  Prince  of  peace  ;  the  Spirit  of  adoption  is  a 
Spirit  of  peace.  Since  God  has  declared  himself 
reconcileable  to  us  ;dl,  he  will  not  own  those  for  his 
children  who  are  implacable  in  their  enmity  to  one 
another  ;  for  if  the  peace-makers  arc  blessed,  woe 
.  to  the  peace-ljreakcrs  !  Now  by  this  it  appears,  that 
Christ  never  intended  to  have  his  religion  propagat- 
ed by  fire  and  sword,  or  penal  laws,  or  to  ack  now- 
ledge  bigotiy,  or  intemperate  zeal,  as  the  marks  of 
his  disciples.  The  children  of  this  world  love  to  fish 
in  troubled  waters,  but  the  children  of  God  are  t)ie 
peace-makers,  the  quiet  in  the  land. 

VIII.  Those  who  ^re  persecuted  for  righteousness' 
sake,  are  happy.  This  is  the  greatest  paradox  of  all, 
and  peculiar  to  Christianity  ;  and  therefore  it  is  put 
last,  and  more  largely  insisted  upon  than  any  of  the 
rest,  V.  10 — 12.  This  beatitude,  like  Pharaoh's 
dream,  is  doubled,  because  hardly  ci-edited,  and  yet 
the  thing  is  certain  ;  and  in  the  latter  part  there  is  a 
change  of  the  person,  "  Blessed  are  ye — ye  my  dis- 
ciples, and  immediate  followers.  This  is  that  which 
you,  who  excel  in  virtue,  are  more  immediately  con- 
cerned in  ;  for  you  must  reckon  upon  hardships  and 
troubles  more  than  other  men."    Observe  here, 

1.  The  case  of  suffering  saints  described  ;  and  it  is 
a  hard  case,  and  a  veiy  piteous  one. 
/L)  They  are  persecuted,  hunted,  pursued,  run 


down,  as  noxious  beasts  are,  that  are  sought  for  tn 
be  destroyed  ;  as  if  a  christian  did  caput  gererc  lu- 
Jwium — bear  a  wolf's  head,  as  an  outlaw  is  said  to 
do — any  one  that  finds  him  may  slav  him  ;  they  are 
abandoned  as  the  offscouringofall  things  ;  fined,  im- 
prisoned, banishea,  stripped  of  their  estates,  ex- 
cluded from  all  places  of  profit  and  tnist,  scourged, 
racked,  tortured,  always  delivered  to  death,  and  ac- 
counted as  sheep  for  the  slaughter.  This  has  been 
the  effect  of  the  enmity  of  the  serpent's  seed  against 
the  holy  seed,  ever  since  the  time  of  righteoits  Abel. 
It  was  so  in  Old-Testament  times,  as  we  find,  Heb. 
11.  35,  &c.  Christ  has  told  us  that  it  would  much 
more  be  so  with  the  christian  church,  and  we  are 
not  to  think  it  sti-ange,  1  John  3.  13.  He  has  left  us 
an  example. 

(2. )  "1  hey  are  reviled,  and  have  all  manner  of 
evil  said  against  them  falsely.  Nick-names,  and 
names  of  reproach,  are  fastened  upcn  them,  upon 
particular  persons,  and  upon  the  generation  of  the 
righteous  in  the  gross,  to  i-ender  them  odious ;  some- 
times to  make  them  despicable,  that  they  may  be 
trampled  upon  ;  sometimes  to  make  them  fomiida- 
ble,  they  are  powcrfuUv  assailed  ;  things  are  laid  to 
their  charge  that  thev  knew  not,  Ps.  35.  10.  Jer.  20. 
18.  Acts  17.  6,  7.  Those  who  have  had  no  power 
in  their  hands  to  do  them  any  other  mischief,  could 
yet  do  this  ;  and  those  who  have  had  power  to  per- 
secute, have  found  it  neccssaiT  to  do  this  too,  to  jus- 
tify themselves  in  their  barbarous  usage  of  them ; 
they  could  not  have  baited  them,  if  thev  had  not 
dressed  them  in  bear-skins  ;  nor  have  given  them 
the  worst  of  treatment,  if  thev  had  not  first  repre- 
sented them  as  the  worst  of  men.  They  will  rex'ile 
you,  arul persecute  you.  Note,  Rex'iling  the  saints 
is  persecuting  them,  and  will  be  found  so  shortly, 
when  hard  speeches  must  be  accounted  for,  (Jude 
15.)  and  cruel  ?nockings,  Heb.  II.  36.  They  wiU 
say  all  mantier  of  evil  cfuou  falsely  ;  sometimes  be- 
fore the  seat  of  judgment,  as  witnesses  :  srmctimcs 
in  the  seat  of  the  scornful,  with  hypocritical  mockers 
at  feasts ;  they  are  the  .so??^  of  the  drunkards  ;  some- 
times to  their  faces,  as  Shimei  cursed  David  ;  some- 
times behind  their  backs,  as  the  enemies  of  Jeremiah 
did.  Note,  There  is  no  evil  so  black  and  horrid, 
which,  at  one  time  or  other,  has  not  been  said ,  falsely, 
of  Christ's  disciples  and  followers. 

(3.)  All  this  is  for  righteousness'  sake,  (v.  10.) 
for  my  sake,  v.  11.  If  for  righteousness'  sake,  then 
for  Christ's  sake,  for  he  is  nearly  interested  in  the 
work  of  righteousness.  Enemies  tn  righteousness 
are  enemies  to  Christ.  This  precludes  these  from 
this  blessedness  who  auKcrjustly,  and  are  evil  spoken 
of  truly  for  their  real  crimes  ;  let  such  be  ashamed 
and  confounded,  it  is  part  of  their  punishment ;  it  is 
not  the  suffering,  hut  the  cause,  that  makes  the 
martyr.  Those  suffer  for  righteousness'  sake,  who 
suffer  because  they  will  not  sin  against  their  con- 
sciences, and  who  suffer  for  doing  that  which  is  good. 
'\\Tiatever  pretence  per^ccutcrs  have,  it  is  the  power 
of  godliness  that  thev  have  an  enmity  to  ;  it  is  really 
Christ  and  his  righteousness  that  are  malieiied, 
hated,  and  persecuted  ;  For  thv  sake  I  have  borne 
reproach,  Ps.  69.  9.  Rom.  8.  36. 

1.  The  comforts  of  suffering  saints  laid  down. 

(1.)  The\'  are  blessed ;  for  they  now,  in  their  life- 
time, receive  their  evil  things,  (Liike  16.  25.)  and 
receive  them  upon  a  good  account.  They  are  blessed, 
for  it  is  an  honour  to  them  ;  (Acts  5.  41.)  it  is  an 
opportunity  of  glorifying  Christ,  of  doing  good,  and 
of  experiencing  special  comforts  and  visits  of  grace, 
and  tokens  of  his  presence,  2  Cor.  1.  5.  Dan.  3.  25. 
Rom.  8.  29. 

(2.)  Thev  shall  be  recompmsed  ;  Theirs  is  the 
kingdom  of  heaven.  They  have  at  present  a  sure 
title  to  it,  and  sweet  foretastes  cf  it ;  and  shall  ere 
long  be  in  possession  of  it.    Though  thci  e  be  nothing 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V. 


51 


in  those  sufTcrings  that  can,  in  strictness,  merit  of 
God,  (for  the  sins  of  the  hcst  deserve  tlie  worst,^ 
yet  this  is  here  promised  as  a  rcvarcl ;  {x:  I'-.J 
Gnat  is  your  mi'urd  in  hfuvni ;  so  great,  as  far  to 
transcend  tlie  service.  It  is  in  heaven,  ftiture,  and 
out  of  sight ;  but  well  secured,  out  of  the  reach  of 
chance,  fraud,  and  violence.  Note,  Cod  ^yill  pro- 
vide that  those  who  lose  fur  him,  though  it  be  life 
itself,  shall  not  lose  A;/  him  in  the  end.  Heaven,  at 
last,  will  be  an  abui\(lant  recompense  for  all  the  dif- 
ficulties we  meet  with  in  our  way.  This  is  that 
which  has  borne  uj)  the  suffering  saints  in  all  ages — 
this^'oi/  sel  before  them. 

(3.)'"So  jiemecuted  they  the  jirofihets  that  -were 
before  you,  v.  12.  Tliey  were  hefire  you  in  excel- 
lency, above  what  you  are  yet  arrived  at ;  they  were 
before  you  in  time,  that  they  miu;ht  be  examples  to 
*you  ot'suffi-ring-  affliction  and  of  Juilience,  James  .5. 
10.  They  were"  in  like  mannei-  persecuted  and 
abused;  and  can  you  expect  to  go  to  heaven  in  a 
way  by  yo\irseUcs  ?  \\'as  not  Isaiah  mocke<l  for  his 
tine  ujio'n  tine?  Elisha  for  hisAi/W  head?  Were  not 
all  the  prophets  thus  treated  ?  Therefore  mart'et 
not  at  it  ;is  ii  strange  thing,  murmur  not  at  it  as  a 
lianl  thing  ;  it  is  a  comfort  to  see  the  way  of  suffer- 
ing a  beaten  road,  and  an  honour  to  toUow'  such 
leaders.  That  grace  which  was  sufficient  for  them, 
to  carrv  tlicm  through  their  sufferings,  sliall  not  be 
(teficienf  to  you.  Those  who  are  your  enemies  are 
the  seed  and  successors  of  them  who  of  old  mocked 
the  .messengers  of  the  Lord,"  2  Chron.  36.  16.  ch. 
23.  25.  Acts  7.  52. 

(4. )  Therefore  rejoice  and  be  exceeding  glad,  v. 
12.  It  is  not  enough  to  be  patient  and  content  under 
these  sufferings  as  under  common  afflictions,  and 
not  to  render  railing  for  railing ;  but  we  nnist  re- 
joice, because  the  honour  and  dignity,  the  pleasure 
and  advantage,  of  suffering  for  Christ,  are  much 
more  considerable  than  the  pain  or  shame  of  it  Not 
that  we  must  take  a  Jiride  in  our  sufferings,  (tliat 
sijoils  all,)  but  we  must  take  a  pleasure  in  them,  as 
Paul;  (2  Cor.  12.  10.)  as  knowing  that  Christ  is 
herein  hefori-hand  with  us,  and  that  he  will  not  be 
behind-hand  with  us,  1  Pet.  4.  12,  13. 

1.3.  Yo  arc  the  salt  of  the  cartli :  but  if 
the  salt  have  lost  his  savour,  wherewith 
shall  it  l)c  salted  ?  It  is  thenceforth  good 
for  nothing,  but  to  be  cast  out,  and  to  be 
lrodd(Mi  mider  foot  of  men.  14.  Ye  are 
the  light  of  the  world.  A  city  that  is  set 
on  a  hill  cannot  be  hid.  15.  Neither  do 
men  jiglit  a  candle,  and  put  it  under  a 
l)uslicl,  but  on  a  candlestick :  and  it  giveth 
light  unto  all  that  are  in  the  house.  1 6.  Let 
your  light  so  shine  before  men,  that  they 
may  see  your  good  works,  and  glorify  your 
Father  which  is  in  heaven. 

Christ  had  lately  called  his  disciples,  and  told 
ihcm  that  they  should  be  fishers  of  men  ;  here  he 
cells  them  further  what  he  designed  them  to  be — 
tlie  salt  of  the  earth,  and  lights  of  the  tvorld,  that 
they  might  be  indeed  what  it  was  expected  they 
should  be. 

I.  Ye  are  the  salt  of  the  earth.  This  would  en- 
courage and  support  them  under  their  sufferings, 
that,  though  they  should  be  treated  with  contempt, 
yet  they  should  really  be  blessings  to  the  world,  and 
tlie  more  so  for  their  suffering  thus.  The  prophets, 
V  ho  went  before  them,  were  the  salt  of  the  land  of 
Canaan  ;  but  the  apostles  were  the  salt  of  the  whole 
'arth,  for  thev  must  go  into  alt  the  world  to  jireach 
t'ie  gos/iel.     It  was  a  discouragement  to  them  that 

/ 


they  were  so  fe^v  and  so  weak.  Wh.at  could  they 
do  in  so  large  a  province  as  the  whole  earth  ?  No- 
thing, if  they  were  to  work  by  force  of  arms  and 
dint Of  sword  ;  but,  being  to  v.  ork  silently  as  s:dt, 
one  handful  of  that  s:dt  would  diffuse  its  savour  far 
and  wide  ;  would  go  a  great  way,  and  work  insensi- 
bly iuid  irresistibly  as  leaven,  ch.  13.  33.  The  doc- 
trine of  the  gospel  is  as  salt ;  it  is  penetrating,  tniick-, 
and  jtowerfut ;  (Heb.  4.  12.)  it  reaches  the  heart, 
.\cts  2.  37.  It  is  cleansing,  it  is  relishing,  and  prc- 
ser\  es  from  putrefaction.  \\'e  read  of  the  .savour 
of  the  knowledge  of  Christ;  (2  Cor.  2.  14.)  for  all 
other  learning  is  insipid  without  that.  An  everlast- 
ing covenant  is  called  a  covenant  of  salt ;  (Numb. 
18.  19.)  and  the  gospel  is  an  exerlastiiig  gos])cl. 
Salt  was  required  hi  all  the  sacrifices,  (Lev.  2.  13.) 
in  Ezckiel's  mystical  temple,  Kzek.  43.  24.  Now 
Christ's  disciples,  having  themselves  learned  the 
doctrine  of  the  gospel,  and  being  emi)loyed  to  teach 
it  to  others,  were  as  salt  Note,  Christians,  and 
especially  ministers,  are  the  salt  of  the  earth. 

1.  If  they  be  such  as  they  should  l)e,  they  arc  as 
good  salt,  white,  and  small,' and  broken  into  many 
gi-ains,  but  very  useful  and  necessary.  Pliny  says. 
Sine  sale  vita  humana  non  potest  degerc — ll'ithout 
salt,  human  life  cannot  be  sustained.  See  in  this, 
(1.)  What  they  are  to  be  in  themselves — seasoned 
with  the  gospel',  with  the  salt  of  grace  ;  thoughts  and 
affections,  words  and  actions,  all  seasoned  with  grace, 
Col.  4.  6.  Have  salt  in  yourselves,  else  you  cannot 
diffuse  it  among  others,  Mark  9.  50.  (2. )  N\'hat  they 
are  to  be  to  others  ;  they  must  not  only  be  good,  but 
do  good  ;  must  insinuate  themselves  into  the  minds 
of  people,  not  to  serve  any  secular  interest  of  their 
own,  but  that  they  may  transfomi  them  into  the 
taste  and  relish  of  the' gospel.  (3.)  ^^'llat  great 
blessings  they  are  to  the  world.  Mankind,  l>ing  in 
ignorance  an(l  wickedness,  were  a  vast  heap,  ready 
to  putrefy ;  but  Christ  sent  forth  his  discijjles,  by 
their  lives  and  doctrines,  to  season  it  with  know- 
ledge and  grace,  and  so  to  render  it  accejjtaljle  to 
CJotl,  to  the  angels,  and  to  all  that  relish  divine 
things.  (4.)  How  they  must  expect  to  be  disposed 
of;  not  laid  on  a  heap',  they  must  not  continue  al- 
ways together  at  Jerusalem,  but  must  be  scattered 
as  salt  upon  the  meat,  here  a  grain  and  there  a 
gi-ain  ;  as  the  Levites  were  dispersed  in  Israel,  that, 
wherever  they  live,  they  may  communicate  their 
savour.  Some  have  observed,  that  whereas  it  is 
foolishly  called  an  ill  omen  to  liavc  the  salt  fall  to- 
wards lis,  it  is  really  an  ill  cmen  to  have  this  salt 
fidl  from  us. 

2.  If  they  be  not,  they  are  as  salt  that  has  lost  its 
savour.  If  you,  who  should  season  others,  are  your- 
selves unsavour)-,  void  of  spiritual  life,  relish,  and 
vigour ;  if  a  christian  be  so,  especially  if  a  minister 
be  so,  his  condition  is  very  sad  ;  for,  (l. )  He  is  irre- 
coverable;  If 'herewith  shall  it  be  salted?  Salt  is  a 
remedy  for  unsavouni  meat,  but  there  is  no  lemcdy 
for  unsavoury  salt.  Christianity  will  gixc  a  man  a 
relish  ;  but  if  a  man  can  take  up  and  cr.ntipue  the 
profession  of  it,  and  vet  remain  flat  and  foolish,  and 
graceless  and  insipiil,  no  other  doctrine,  no  other 
iiieans,  can  be  ajiphed,  to  make  him  sa\oury.  If 
Christianity  do  not  do  it,  nothing  will.  (2.)  He  is 
unprofitable  ;  It  is  thenceforth  good  for  nothing  ; 
what  use  can  it  be  put  to,  in  wTiich  it  will  not  do 
more  hurt  than  good?  As  a  man  without  reason,  so 
is  a  christian  without  grace.  A  wicked  man  is  the 
worst  of  creatures  ;  a  wicked  chi-istian  is  the  worst 
of  men  ;  and  a  wicked  minister  is  the  worst  of  chris- 
tians. (3.)  He  is  doomed  to  niin  and  rejection  ;  He 
shall  be  cast  out — expelled  the  church  and  the  com- 
munion of  the  faithful,  to  which  he  is  a  blot  and  a 
burden  ;  and  he  shall  be  trodden  underfoot  of  men. 
Let  God  be  glorified  in  the  shame  and 'rejection  o*' 
those  by  whom  he  has  been  reproached,  and  wno 


52 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V 


have  made  themselves  fit  for  nothing  but  to  be  tram- 
pled upon. 

n.  Ye  are  the  light  of  the  world,  v.  14.  This  also 
bespeaks  their  usefulness,  as  the  former,  f  Sole  el 
sate  7iihil  utilius — A^olhing-  more  useful  than  the  sun 
and  salt,)  but  more  glorious.  All  christians  are 
light  in  the  Lord,  (Eph.  5.  8.)  and  must  shine  as 
lights,  (Pliil.  2.  15.)  but  ministers  in  a  special  man- 
ner. Christ  calls  himself  the  Light  of  the  world, 
(John  S.  12.)  and  tliey  arc  workers  together  with 
him,  and  have  some  ot  his  honour  put  upon  tliem. 
Tnily  the  light  is  sweet,  it  is  welcome  ;  tlie  light  of 
the  first  day  of  the  world  v/as  so,  when  it  shone  out 
of  darkness ;  so  is  the  moniing  liglit  of  e\ery  day  ; 
so  was  tlie  gospel,  and  those  tliat  spread  it,  to  all 
sensible  people.  The  world  sat  in  darkness,  Christ 
raised  up  his  disciples  to  shine  in  it ;  and,  that  they 
may  do  so,  from  him  they  boiTow  and  derive  their 
Ught. 

This  similitude  is  here  explamed  m  two  things  : 

1.  As  the  lights  of  the  world,  they  are  illustrious 
and  conspicuous,  and  liave  many  eyes  upon  them. 
A  city  that  is  set  on  a  hill,  cannot  be  hid.  The  dis- 
ciples of  Christ,  especially  they  who  are  forward 
and  zealous  in  his  service  become  remarkable,  and 
are  taken  notice  of  as  beacons.  They  are  for  signs, 
(Isa.  8.  IS.)  men  wondered  at ;  (Zech.  .3.  8.)  all  their 
neighbours  have  an  eye  upon  them.  Some  admire 
them,  commend  them,  rejoice  in  them,  and  study 
to  imitate  tliem  ;  others  envy  them,  hate  them,  cen- 
sure them,  and  study  to  blast  them.  They  are  con- 
cerned therefore  to  walk  circumsfiectly,  because  of 
their  observers  ;  they  are  as  spectacles  to  the  world, 
and  must  take  lieed  of  every  thing  that  looks  ill, 
because  they  arc  so  much  looked  at.  The  disciples 
of  Christ  were  obscure  men  before  he  called  them, 
but  the  character  he  put  upon  them  dignified  them, 
and  as  preachers  of  the  gospel  they  made  a  figure  ; 
and  though  they  were  reproached  for  it  by  some, 
they  were  respected  for  it  by  others,  advanced  to 
thrones,  and  made  judges  ;  (Luke  22.  30.)  for  Christ 
will  honour  those  that  honour  him. 

2.  As  the  lights  of  the  world,  they  are  intended 
to  illuminate  and  give  light  to  others,  {v.  15.)  and 
therefore,  ( 1. )  They  shall  be  set  uji  as  lights.  Christ 
having  lighted  these  candles,  they  shall  not  be  put 
under  a  bushel,  not  confined  always,  as  they  are 
now,  to  the  cities  of  Galilee,  or  the  lost  sheep  of  the 
house  of  Israel,  but  they  shall  be  sent  into  all  the 
world.  The  chiu'ches  are  the  candlesticks,  tlie 
golden  candlesticks,  in  which  these  lights  are  placed, 
that  their  light  may  be  diffiiscd  ;  and  the  gospel  is 
so  strong  a  light,  and  carries  with  it  so  much  of  its 
own  evidence,  that,  like  a  city  on  a  hill,  it  cannot  be 
hid,  it  cannot  but  appear  to  be  from  God,  to  all  those 
who  do  not  wilfully  shut  their  eyes  against  it.  It 
ivill  gn<e  light  to  all  that  are  in  tlie  house,  to  all  that 
■will  draw  near  to  it,  and  come  v/here  it  is.  Those 
to  whom  it  does  not  give  light,  must  thank  them- 
selves ;  they  will  not  be  in  the  house  with  it ;  will 
not  make  a  diligent  and  impartial  inquiry  into  it, 
but  are  prejudiced  against  it.  (2.)  They  must  shine 
asliglits,  [1.]  Y>s  \\\^w good  jireaching.  The  know- 
ledge they  have,  they  must  communicate  for  the 
good  of  others ;  not  put  it  under  a  bushel,  but  spread 
it.  The  talent  must  not  be  buried  in  a  napkin,  but 
traded  with.  The  disciples  of  Christ  must  not  muf- 
fle themselves  up  in  privacy  and  obscuritv,  under 
pretence  of  contemplation,  modesty,  or  self-preser- 
vation, but,  as  they  have  receb.K'd  the  gift,  must 
minister  the  same,  iLuke  12.  3.  [2.]  By  their  good 
Irving.  They  must  be  burning  and  shining  liglits  ; 
(John  5.  35.)  must  evidence,  in  tlicir  whole  conver- 
sation, that  thev  are  indeed  the  followers  of  Christ, 
James  3.  13.  They  must  be  to  others  for  insti-uc- 
tion,  direction,  quickening,  and  comfort.  Job  2P.  11. 

See  here.  First,  How  our  light  must  shine — ^by 


doing  such  good  works  as  men  may  see,  and  may  ap- 
prove of ;  such  works  as  are  of  good  report  among 
them  that  are  witliout,  and  as  will  therefore  give 
them  cause  to  think  well  of  Christianity.  We  must 
do  good  works  that  may  be  seen  to  the  edification  of 
others,  but  not  that  they  may  be  seeji  to  our  own  os- 
tentation ;  we  are  bid  to  pray  in  secret,  arid  what 
lies  between  God  and  our  souls,  must  be  kept  to 
ourseh'es  ;  but  that  which  is  of  itself  open  and  ob- 
vious to  the  sight  of  men,  we  must  study  to  make 
congruous  to  our  profession,  and  praiseworthy,  Phil. 
4.  8.  Those  about  us  must  not  only  hear  our  good 
words,  but  see  our  good  works  ;  that  they  may  be 
convinced  that  religion  is  more  than  a  bare  name, 
and  that  we  do  not  only  make  a  profession  of  it,  but 
abide  under  the  power  of  it. 

Secondli/,  For  what  e7id  our  light  must  shine — 
"That  those  who  see  your  good  works,  may  be 
brought,  not  to  glorify  you,  (which  was  the  thing  the 
Pharisees  aimed  at,  and  it  spoiled  all  their  per- 
formances,) but  to  glorify  your  Lather  which  is  in 
heaven."  Note,  The  glory  of  God  is  the  great  tiling 
we  must  airri  at  in  every  thing  we  do  in  religion, 
1  Pet.  4.  11.  In  this  centre  the  lines  of  all  our  ac- 
tions must  meet.  We  must  not  only  endeavour  to* 
glorify  God  ourselves,  but  we  must  do  all  we  can  to 
bring  others  to  glorify  him.  The  siglit  of  our  good 
works  will  do  this,  by  fumishing  them,  1.  With 
matter  for  jiraise.  "Let  them  see  yoiir  good  works,\ 
that  they  may  see  the  power  of  God's  gi-ace  in  you,  j 
and  may  thank  him  for  it,  and  give  him  the  glorj'/ 
of  it,  who  has  given  such  power  unto  men. "  2.  With! 
motives  to  piety.  "Let  them  see  your  good  works,' 
that  they  may  be  convinced  of  the  truth  and  excel- 
lency of'  the  chi'istian  religion,  may  be  provoked  by 
a  holy  emulation  to  imitate  vour  good  works,  and  so 
may  glorify  God."  Note,  I'he  holy,  regular,  and 
exemplarv  conversation  of  the  saints,  may  do  nmch 
toward  tlie  conversion  of  sinners ;  those  who  are 
unacquainted  with  religion,  may  hereby  be  brought 
to  know  what  it  is.  j  Examples  teach.  And  those 
who  are  prejudiced  against  it,  may  hereby  be  brought 
in  love  with  it,  and  thus  there  is  a  winning  virtue  in 
a  godly  conversation. 

17.  Think  not  that  I  am  come  to  destroy 
the  law  or  the  pioi)hets:  I  am  not  come  to 
destroy,  but  to  fulfil.  1 8.  For  verily  I  say 
unto  you,  Till  heaven  and  earth  pass,  one 
jot  or  one  tittle  shall  in  no  wise  pass  from 
the  law,  till  all  be  fulfilled.  19.  Whoso- 
ever therefore  shall  break  one  of  these  least 
commandments,  and  shall  teach  men  so, 
he  shall  be  called  the  least  in  the  kingdom 
of  heaven  :  but  whosoever  shall  do  and 
teach  ilirm,  the  same  shall  be  called  great 
in  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  20.  For  I  say 
unto  you.  That  except  your  righteousness 
shall  exceed  the  riglitcovfinr.ss  of  the  Scribes 
and  Pharisees,  ye  shall  in  no  case  enter 
into  the  kingdom  of  heaven. 

Those  to  whom  Christ  preached,  and  for  vvh(st 
use  he  gave  these  instructions  to  his  disciples,  were 
such  as  in  their  religion  had  an  eye,  1.  To  the  scrip- 
tu-^es  of  the  Old  Testa?nent  as  their  rule,  .and  therein 
Christ  here  shows  them  tli  .•v  were  in  the  riglit :  2. 
To  the  Scribes  and  Pharisees  ..s  their  example,  and 
therein  Christ  here  shows  them  they  were  in  the 
wronir;  for, 

I.  The  iide  which  Christ  came  to  establish,  ex- 
actly agreed  with  the  scriptures  of  the  Old  Testa- 
merit,  here  called  the  law  and  the  prophets.     The 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V. 


53 


firo/ihets  were  commentutors  upon  Ihc  law,  and  both 
together  made  up  that  rule  of  faith  and  priicticc 
wliicli  Christ  found  upon  the  throne  in  the  Jewish 
church,  iuid  here  he  keeps  it  on  the  throne. 

1.  He  protests  against  the  thought  of  rancelling 
and  weakening  the  Old  Testament ;  Think  not  that 
I  am  come  to  destroy  the  hnv  and  the  /iro/ihets.  ( 1. ) 
"Let  not  the  pious  Jews,  who  have  an  affection  for 
Ute  lawand  the  /iro/ihet>t,  fear  t\\M  I  come  to  destroy 
them."  Let  them  not  be  prejudiced  against  Christ 
and  Itis  doctrine,  from  a  jealousy  that  this  kingdom 
lie  came  to  set  u]),  would  derogate  from  the  honour 
of  tlie  scri|)tures,  which  they  had  embraced  as  com- 
ing from  God,  and  of  which  they  had  experienced 
the  power  and  purity  ;  no,  let  them  be  satisfied  that 
Christ  has  no  ill  design  upon  the  law  luid  the  jiro- 
phets.  (.,;.)  "Let  not  the  profane  Jews,  who  have 
a  disaffection  to  the  law  and  the  prophets,  and  are 
weary  of  that  yoke,  liope  that  I  am  come  to  destroy 
tliem."  Let  not  carnal  libertines  imagine  that  the 
Messiah  is  come  to  discharge  them  from  the  obliga- 
tion of  divine  precepts,  to  secure  to  them  divine  pro- 
mises to  make  them  happy,  and  yet  to  give  them 
leave  to  live  as  they  list.  Christ  commands  nothing- 
new,  which  was  forljidden  either  by  the  law  of  na- 
ture or  the  moral  law,  nor  forbids  any  thing  which 
those  laws  had  enjoined ;  it  is  a  great  mistake  to 
think  he  does,  and  he  here  takes  care  to  rectify  the 
mistake;  lam  not  come  to  destroy.  The  Sa\'iour 
of  souls  is  the  Destroyer  of  nothing  but  the  works 
of  the  Devil,  of  nothing  that  comes  from  God,  much 
less  of  those  excellent  dictates  which  we  have  from 
Moses  and  the  propliets.  No,  he  came  to  fulfil 
them.  That  is,  [1.]  To  obey  the  commands  of  the 
law,  for  he  was  made  under  the  law.  Gal.  4.  4. 
He  in  all  respects  yielded  obedience  to  the  law,  ho- 
noured his  parents,  sanctified  the  sabbath,  prayed, 
gave  alms,  and  did  that  which  never  any  one  else 
did,  obeyed  perfectly,  and  never  broke  the  law  in 
any  thing.  [:3.]  To  make  good  the  promises  of  the 
law,  and  tlie  predictions  of  the  prophets,  which  did 
all  Ijear  witness  to  him.  The  co\enant  of  grace  is, 
for  substance,  the  same  now  that  it  was  then,  antl 
Christ  the  Mediator  of  it  [3.  ]  To  answer  the  types 
of  the  law;  tlius,  (as  Bishop  Tillotson  expresses  it,) 
he  did  not  make  void,  but  make  good,  the  ceremo- 
nial law,  and  manifested  himself  to  be  the  Substance 
of  all  those  shadows.  [4.]  To  fill  up  the  defects  of 
it,  and  so  to  complete  and  perfect  it.  Thus  the 
word  ta-wiflfTii  properly  signifies.  If  we  consider 
the  law  as  a  vessel  that  had  some  water  in  it  liefore, 
he  did  not  come  to  pour  out  the  water,  but  tn«fill  the 
vessel  up  to  the  brim  ;  or,  as  a  ])icture  that  is  first 
rough-drawn,  displays  some  outlines  onlv  of  the 
piece  intended,  which  are  afterward  filled  up  ;  so 
Christ  made  an  improvement  of  the  law  and  the 
pro])hets  Ijy  his  additions  and  explications.  [5.  ]  To 
carry  on  the  same  design  ;  the  christian  institutes  are 
so  far  from  thwarting  and  contradicting  that  which 
was  the  maindesign  of  the  Jewish  religion,  that  thev 
promote  it  to  the  highest  degree.  The  gospel  is  the 
time  of  reformation,  (Heb.  9.  10.)  not  the  repeal  of 
the  Uiw,  but  the  amendment  of  it,  and,  consequent! v, 
its  establishment 

2.  He  asserts  the  perpetuity  of  it ;  that  not  only 
he  designed  not  the  abrogation  of  it,  but  that  it  never 
should  be  abrogated ;  {xk  18. )  "  Verily  I  say  unto 
you,  I,  the  Amen,  the  faithful  Witness,  sol'emnlv 
declare  it,  that  till  heaven  and  earth  fiass,  when  time 
shall  be  no  more,  and  the  unchangeable  state  of  re- 
compenses shall  supersede  all  laws,  one  jot,  or  one 
tittle,  the  least  and  most  minute  circumstance,  shall 
in  no  wise  fiass  fro?n  the  law  till  all  be  fulfilled ;"  for 
what  is  it  that  God  is  doing  in  all  the  operations, 
both  of  providence  and  grace,  but  fidfiUing  the  scrip- 
ture ?  Heaven  and  eaith  shall  come  together,  and  all 
the  fulness  thereof  be  wrapt  up  in  ruin  and  confusion. 


rather  than  iuiy  word  of  God  shall  ftdl  to  the  ground, 
or  be  in  vain.  The  word  of  the  Lord  endures  for 
ever,  both  that  of  the  law,  :uul  that  of  the  gospel. 
Observe,  The  care  of  (Jod  concerning  his  law  ex- 
tends itself  even  to  those  things  that  seem  to  be  of 
least  account  in  it,  the  iotas  and  the  tittles ;  for  what- 
ever belongs  to  (iod,  imd  bears  his  stamp,  be  it  ever 
so  little,  shall  be  presen-ed.  The  laws  of  men  are 
conscious  to  themselves  of  so  much  imperfection, 
that  they  allow  it  for  a  maxim,  J/iiccs Juris  non  sunt 
jura — The  extreme  ftoints  of  Jaw  are  not  /nw,  but 
God  will  stand  b_v  and  niaint;un  every  iota  and  tittle 
of  his  law. 

3.  He  gives  it  in  charge  to  his  disciples,  carefnilv 
to  preserve  the  law,  and  shows  them  the  danger  of 
the  neglect  and  contempt  of  it ;  {v.  19.)  li'hosocx'cr 
thenfore  shall  break  one  of  the  least  commandrnenls 
of  the  law  of  Moses,  much  more  any  of  the  greater 
as  the  Pharisees  did,  who  neglected  the  weightier 
matters  of  the  law,  and  shall  teach  men  so  as  thev 
did,  who  made  \oid  the  commandment  of  God  with 
their  traditions,  (ch.  15.  3.)  he  shall  be  called  the  least 
in  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  Though  the  Pharisees 
be  cried  iip  for  such  teachere  as  should  be,  they 
shall  not  be  emjiloyed  as  teachers  in  Christ's  king- 
dom ;  but  whosoever  shall  do  and  teach  them,  as 
Christ's  disciples  would,  and  thereby  prove  them  • 
selves  better  friends  to  the  Old  Testament  than  the 
Pharisees  were,  they,  though  deB])iscd  by  men,  shall 
be  called  great  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  Note, 
(1.)  Among  the  commands  of  God  there  are  some 
less  than  others  ;  none  absolutely  little,  but  compa- 
ratively so.  The  Jews  reckon  the  least  of  the  ccm- 
mandments  of  the  law  to  be  that  of  the  bird's  nest ; 
(Deut.  22.  6,  ".)  yet  even  that  had  a  significance 
and  an  intention  very  gi-eat  and  considerable.  (2. ) 
It  is  a  dangerous  thing,  in  doctrine  or  practice,  to 
disannul  the  least  of  God's  commands ;  to  break 
them,  that  is  to  go  about  either  to  contract  the  extent, 
or  v.'eaken  the  obligation  of  them  ;  whoever  does  so, 
will  find  it  is  at  his  peril.  Thus  to  vacate  any  of  the 
ten  commandments,  is  too  bold  a  stroke  for  the 
jealous  God  to  pass  by.  It  is  something  more  than 
transgressing  the  law,  it  is  making  void  the  law,  Ps. 
119.  126.  (3.)  That  the  further  such  con-uptions 
as  these  spread,  the  worse  they  arc.  It  is  impu- 
dence enough  to  break  the  command,  but  it  is  a 
greater  degree  of  it  to  teach  men  so.  This  plainly 
refers  to  those  who  at  this  time  sat  in  Moses'  seat, 
and  by  their  comments  coniipted  and  perverted  the 
text.  Opinions  that  tend  to  the  destmction  of  seri- 
ous godliness  and  the  vitals  of  religion,  by  cori-upt 
glosses  on  the  scripture,  are  bad  when  they  are  held, 
bvit  worse  when  thev  are  propagated  and  taught  as 
the  word  of  God.  He  that  docs  so,  shall  be  called 
least  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  in  the  kingdom  of 
glorv;  he  shall  never  come  thither,  but  be  eternally 
excluded  ;  or,  rather,  in  the  kingdom  of  the  gospel- 
church.  He  is  so  far  from  deserving  the  dignity  of 
a  teacher  in  it,  that  he  shall  not  so  much  as  be  ac- 
counted a  memljer  of  it  The  prophet  that  teaches 
these  lies,  shall  be  the  tail  in  that  kingdom ;  (Isa.  9. 
15.)  when  tnith  shall  appear  in  its  own  evidence, 
such  coiTupt  teachers,  though  cried  up  as  the  Pha- 
risees, shall  he  of  no  account  with  the  wise  and  good. 
Nothing  makes  ministers  more  contemptible  and 
base  than  corrupting  of  the  law,  Mai.  2.  8,  11, 
Those  who  extenuate  and  encourage  sin,  and  dis- 
countenance and  put  contempt  upon  strictness  in 
religion  and  serious  devotion,  are  the  dregs  of  the 
church.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  [1.]  Those  are 
tnilv  honourable,  and  of  great  account  in  the  church 
of  Christ,  who  lay  out  themsehes  Ijy  their  life  and 
doctrine  to  promote  the  purity  and  strictness  of 
practical  religion  ;  who  both  do  and  teach  that 
which  is  good  ;  for  those  who  do  not  as  they  teach, 
pull  down  with  one  hand  what  they  build  up  with 


A 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V. 


the  other,  and  give  themselves  the  lie,  and  tempt 
men  to  think  that  all  religion  is  a  delusion ;  but  those 
who  speak  from  experience,  who  live  up  to  what 
they  preach,  are  truly  great ;  they  honour  God,  and 
God  will  honour  them,  (1  Sam.  2.  10.)  and  here- 
after they  shall  shine  as  the  utais  in  the  kingdom  of 
our  Father. 

11.  The  righteousness  which  Christ  came  to  es- 
tablish by  this  i-ule,  must  exceed  that  of  the  Scribes 
and  Pharisees,  v.  20.  This  was  strange  doctiine  to 
those  who  looked  upon  the  Scribes  and  Pharisees  as 
having  arrived  at  the  highest  pitch  of  religion.  The 
Scribes  were  the  most  noted  teachers  of  the  law,  and 
the  Pharisees  the  most  celebrated  professors  of  it, 
and  they  both  sat  in  Moses'  chair,  (ch.  23.  2.)  and 
had  sucn  a  reputation  among  the  people,  that  they 
were  looked  upon  as  super-confoi-mable  to  the  law, 
and  people  did  not  think  themselves  obliged  to  be  as 
goocl  as  they ;  it  was  therefore  a  great  suiprise  to 
them,  to  liear  that  they  must  be  better  than  they, 
or  they  should  not  go  to  heaven ;  and  therefore 
Christ  here  avers  it  with  solemnity  ;  J  say  unto  you. 
It  is  so.  The  Scribes  and  Pharisees  were  enemies 
to  Christ  and  his  doctrine,  and  were  gi-eat  op- 
pressors ;  and  yet  it  must  be  owned,  that  there  was 
something  commendable  in  them.  They  were  much 
in  fasting,  and  prayer,  and  giving  of  alms  ;  they  were 
punctual  in  observing  the  ceremonial  appointments, 
and  made  it  their  business  to  teach  others  ;  they  had 
such  an  interest  in  the  people,  that  they  thought,  if 
but  two  men  went  to  heaven,  one  would  be  a  Phari- 
see ;  and  yet  our  Lord  Jesus  here  tells  his  disciples, 
that  the  religion  he  came  to  establish,  did  not  only 
exclude  the  badness,  but  excel  the  goodness,  of  the 
Scribes  and  Pharisees.  We  must  do  more  than  they, 
and  better  than  they,  or  we  shall  come  short  of  hea- 
ven. They  were  fiartial  in  the  la%v,  and  laid  most 
stress  upon  the  ritual  part  of  it ;  but  we  must  be 
miiversal,  and  not  think  it  enough  to  give  the  priest 
his  tithe,  but  must  gi\e  God  our  hxiarts.  They  mind- 
ed only  the  outside,  but  we  must  make  conscience  of 
inside  godliness.  They  aimed  at  the  firaise  and  afi- 
plaitse  of  men,  but  we  must  aim  at  accefltance  with 
God:  they  were  firoud  of  what  they  did  in  religion, 
and  trusted  to  it  as  a  righteousness ;  but  wc,  when 
we  have  done  all,  must  deny  ouiselves,  and  say, 
We  are  unfirojitable  servants,  and  tnist  only  to  the 
righteousness  of  Christ ;  and  thus  we  may  go  beyond 
the  Scribes  and  Pharisees. 

21.  Ye  have  heard  that  it  was  said  by 
them  of  old  time,  Thou  shalt  not  kill :  and 
whosoever  shall  kill  shall  be  in  danger 
of  the  judgment:  22.  But  I  say  unto  you, 
That  whosoever  is  angry  with  his  brother 
without  a  cause  shall  be  in  danger  of  the 
judgment :  and  whosoever  shall  say  to  his 
brother,  Raca,  shall  be  in  danger  of  the 
council :  but  whosoever  shall  say.  Thou 
fool,  shall  be  in  danger  of  hell  fire.  23. 
Therefore,  if  thou  bring  thy  gift  to  the  altar, 
and  there  rememberest  that  thy  brother 
hath  ought  agaijist  thee  ;  24.  Leave  there 
thy  gift  before  the  altar,  and  go  thy  way ; 
first  be  reconciled  to  thy  brother,  and  then 
come  and  ofi'er  thy  gift.  25.  Agree  with 
thine  adversary  quickly,  whiles  thou  art  in 
til  :>  way  with  him ;  lest  at  any  time  the  ad- 
versary deliver  thee  to  the  judge,  and  the 
judge  deliver  thee  to  the  officer,  and  thou 
be  cast  into  prison.     26.  Verily  I  say  unto 


thee.  Thou  shalt  by  no  means  come  out 
thence,  till  thou  hast  paid  the  uttermost 
farthing. 

Christ  having  laid  do\vn  these  principles,  that 
Moses  and  the  prophets  were  stiU  to  be  their  rulers,  ^ 
but  that  the  Scribes  and  Pharisees  were  to  be  no 
longer  their  i-ulers,  proceeds  to  expound  the  law  in 
some  particular  instances,  and  to  vindicate  it  from 
the  coiTupt  glosses  which  those  expositors  liad  p\it 
upon  it.  He  adds  not  any  thing  new,  only  limits 
and  restrains  some  permissions  which  had  been 
abused  ;  and  as  to  the  precepts,  shows  the  breadth, 
strictness,  and  spiritual  nature  of  them,  adding  such 
explanatory  statutes  as  made  them  more  clear,  and 
tended  much  toward  the  perfecting  of  our  obedience 
to  them.  In  these  verses,  he  explains  the  law  of 
the  sixth  commandment,  according  to  the  true  intent 
and  full  extent  of  it 

I.  Here  is  the  co)n?ncnf/ iCsf //"laid  down;  {v.  12.) 
IVe  have  heard  it,  and  remember  it ;  he  speaks  to 
them  %i'ho  know  the  law,  who  had  Moses  read  to 
them  in  their  synagogues  everj'  sabbath-day ;  ycu 
have  heard  that  it  was  said  by  them,  or  rather  as  it 
is  in  the  margin,  to  them  of  old  time,  to  your  fore- 
fathers the  Jews,  Thou  shalt  not  kill.  Note,  The 
laws  of  God  are  not  novel,  upstart  laws,  but  were  de- 
livered to  them  of  old  time ;  they  are  ancient  laws, 
but  of  that  nature  as  never  to  be  antiqiiated  nor  grow 
obsolete.  The  moral  law  agrees  with  the  law  of 
nature,  and  the  eternal  niles  and  reasons  of  good  and 
evil,  that  is,  the  rectitude  of  the  eternal  Mind. 
Killing  is  here  forbidden,  killing  ourselves,  killing 
any  other,  directly  or  indirectly,  or  being  any  way 
accessory  to  it.  The  law  of  God,  the  God  of  life,  is 
a  hedge  of  protection  about  our  lives.  It  was  one  of 
the  precepts  of  Noah,  Gen.  9.  5,  6. 

II.  The  exposition  of  this  command  which  the 
Jewish  teachers  contented  themselves  with  ;  their 
comment  upon  it  was,  Whosoever  shall  kill,  shall  be 
in  danger  of  the  judgment.  This  was  all  they  had 
to  say  upon  it,  that  wilful  murderers  vf  ere  liable  to 
the  sword  of  justice,  and  casual  ones  to  the  judgment 
of  the  city  of  refuge.  The  courts  of  judgment  sat  in 
the  gate  of  their  principal  cities ;  the  judges,  ordina- 
rily, were  in  number  twenty-three  ;  these  tried,  con- 
demned, and  executed  murderers ;  so  that  whoever 
killed,  was  in  danger  of  their  judgment.  Now  this 
gloss  of  theirs  upon  this  commandment  was  faulty, 
for  it  intimated,  1,  That  the  lav/  of  the  sixth  com- 
mandment was  only  external,  and  forbade  no  more 
than  tl»E  act  of  murder,  and  laid  no  restraint  upon 
the  inward  lusts,  from  which  wars  and  fightings 
eome.  This  was  indeed  the  crf^Tiv  4'"''" — '^'^  /"''- 
damental  error  of  the  Jewish  teachers,  that  the  di- 
vine law  prohibited  only  the  sinful  act,  not  the  sinful 
thought ;  they  were  disposed  hxrere  in  corlice — to 
rest  in  the  letter  of  the  law,  and  they  never  inquired 
into  the  spiritual  meaning  of  it.  Paul,  while  a  Pha- 
risee, did  not,  till,  by  the  key  of  the  tenth  command- 
ment, divine  grace  let  him  into  the  knowledge  of  the 
spiritual  nature  of  all  the  rest,  Rom.  7.  7,  14.  2. 
Another  mistake  of  theirs  was,  that  this  law  was 
merely  /lolitical  and  municipal,  given  for  them,  and 
intended  as  a  directory  for  their  courts,  and  no  more  ; 
as  if  they  only  were  the  people,  and  the  wisdom  of 
the  law  must  die  with  them. 

III.  The  exposition  which  Christ  gave  of  this 
commandment ;  and  we  are  sure  that  according  to 
his  exposition  of  it  we  must  be  judged  hereafter,  and 
therefore  ought  to  be  iided  now.  The  command- 
ment is  exceeding  broad,  and  not  to  be  limited  by  the 
will  of  the  flesh,  or  the  will  of  men. 

1.  Christ  tells  them  that  rash  anger  is  heart-mur- 
der; {y.  22.)  ]\^iosoex'er  is  aytgiy  with  his  brother 
without  a  cause,  breaks  the  sixth  commandment. 
By  our  brother  here,  we  are  to  understand  any  pei 


ST.  MATTHEW,  \'. 


45 


Son,  though  evei'  io  much  our  inferior,  as  a  cliild,  a 
,  scnant,  tor  wc  arc  all  made  of  one  blood.  Anger  is 
]  a  natural  jjassion  ;  there  arc  cases  in  which  it  is  law- 

/ful  and  laudable  ;  hut  it  is  then  sinful,  when  we  are 
anj;^y  without  cause.  The  word  is  lix',  which  sii|;ni- 
1  fies,  sine  cattsd,  sine  cffectu,  et  sine  modt/ — ivit/iout 
ccune,  '.uilliout  any  ifood  effect,  '.lilhout  moderation  ; 
so  that  the  anger  is  then  sinfid,  (1.)  When  it  is 
without  any  just  provocation  )vi\  en ;  either  for  no 
cause,  or  no  good  cause,  or  no  great  and  proportiona- 
ble cause ;  when  we  are  angrv  at  children  or  ser- 
vants for  tluit  which  could  not  be  hel])ed,  which  was 
only  a  piece  of  forijetfulness  or  mistake,  that  we 
ourselves  might  easily  have  been  guilty  of,  and  for 
which  we  should  not  ha\e  been  angry  at  ourselves  ; 
when  wc  are  angry  upon  groundless  surmises,  or  for 
*\trivial  affronts  not  worth  s]jcaking  of  (2. )  When  it  is 
without  any  good  end  aimed  at,  merely  to  show  our 
authority,  to  gratify  a  bnitish  passion,  to  let  people 
know  our  resentments,  and  excite  ourselves  to  re- 
venge, then  it  is  in  \ain,  it  is  to  do  hurt ;  whereas  if 
we  are  at  any  time  angry,  it  should  be  to  awaken 
the  offender  to  repentance,  and  prevent  his  doing  so 
again  ;  to  clear  ourselves,  (2  Cor.  7.  II.)  and  to  give 
warnin.;  to  other.s.  (3. )  \\'hen  it  exceeds  due  bounds ; 
when  we  are  hardy  and  headstrong  in  our  anger, 
violent  and  \ehement,  outrageous  and  mischievous, 
;uid  when  we  seek  the  hurt  of  those  we  are  dis- 
pleased at.  This  is  a  breach  of  the  sixth  command- 
ment, for  he  that  is  thus  angri,-,  would  kill  if  lie 
coukl  anrl  durst ;  he  has  taken  the  first  step  towards 
it ;  Cain's  killing  his  brother  began  in  anger  ;  he  is 
a  murderer  in  the  account  of  God,  who  knows  his 
heart,  whence  murdera  proceed,  c/i.  15.  19. 

2.  He  tells  them,  that  giving  opprobrious  lan- 
guage to  our  brother  is  tongue-murder,  calling  him, 
Raca,  and.  Thou  fool.  When  this  is  done  w  ith 
mildness  and  for  a  good  end,  to  con\  ince  others  of  j 
their  vanity  and  folly,  it  is  not  sinful.  Thus  James  j 
says,  0  x'ain  man  ;  and  Paul,  Ttiou  fool ;  and  Christ  I 
himself,  O  foots,  and  slow  of  heart.  But  when  it' 
proceeds  from  anger  and  malice  within,  it  is  the 
smoke  of  that  fire  which  is  kindled  fmm  hell,  and 
falls  under  the  same  character.  (1.)  Raca  is  a 
scornful  word,  and  comes  from  pride,  "Thou  empty 
fellow  ;"  it  is  the  language  of  that  which  Solomon 
calls  /iroud  'ivrath,  (Prov.  21.  24.)  which  tramples 
upon  our  brother— disdains  to  set  him  eren  nvith  the  , 
dogs  of  our  Jiock.  This  people  ii'hich  l:nou-s  not  the 
la'.v,  is  cursed,  is  such  language,  John  7.  49.  (2.) 
Thou  fool  is  a  spiteful  word,  and  comes  from  hatred  ; 
looking  upon  him,  not  onlv  as  mean  and  not  to  be 
honoured,  but  as  vile  and  not  to  be  loved  ;  "  Thou 
wicked  man,  thou  reprobate."  The  former  speaks 
a  man  without  sense,  this  (in  scripture-language) 
speaks  a  man  without  grace  ;  tlie  more  the  rei^roach 
touches  his  spiritual  condition,  the  worse  it  is  ;  the 
former  is  a  haughtv  taunting  of  our  brother,  this  is 
a  malicious  censuring  and  condemning  of  him,  as 
abandoned  of  (iod.  Now  this  is  a  breach  of  the 
sixth  commandment ;  malicious  slanders  and  cen- 
sures are  poison  under  the  tongue,  that  kills  secret- 
ly and  slowlv  ;  bitter  vjords  are  as  arroivs  that  wound 
suddenly,  (Ps.  64.  3.)  or  as  a  sword  in  the  bones. 

iThe  good  name  of  our  neighbour,  which  is  better 
Ithan  life,  is  thereby  stabbed  and  mui-dered  ;  and  it 
is  an  evide:ice  of  such  an  ill-will  to  our  neighbour  as 
would  stinke  at  his  life,  if  it  were  in  our  power. 

3.  He  tells  them,  that  how  light  soever  they  made 
of  these  sins,  they  will  certainly  be  reckoned  for  ; 
he  that  is  angrti  with  his  brother  shall  be  in  danger 
of  the  judgment  and  anger  of  God  ;  he  that  calls 
liim  Raca,  shall  be  in  danger  of  the  council,  of  being 
punished  by  the  Sanhedrim  for  reviling  an  Israelite ; 
but  whosoever  saith.  Thou  fool,  thou  profane  per- 
son, thou  child  of  hell,  shall  be  in  danger  of  hell-jire,  i, 
to  which  he  condemns  his  brother  ;  so  the  learaed  il 


Dr.  \Vhitby.  Some  think,  in  allusion  to  the  penal 
ties  used  in  the  several  courts  of  Judgment  among 
the  Jews,  Christ  shows  that  the  sin  of  rash  anger 
ex[)oses  men  to  lower  or  higher  punishments,  ac 
cording  to  the  deijites  of  its  proceeding.  The  Jews 
had  three  capit;d  punishments,  each  worse  than  the 
other  ;  beheading,  which  was  inflicted  by  the  judg- 
ment ;  stoning,  by  the  council  or  chief  Sanhedrim  ; 
iuid  burning  in  the  valley  of  the  son  of  Ilhinoni, 
which  was  used  only  in  extraordinaiy  ciises  :  it  sig- 
nifies, therefore,  th.'it  rash  anger  and  rcprnacliful 
language  are  damning  sins  ;  but  some  are  more  sin- 
ful than  others,  and  accordin.u;ly  there  is  a  greater 
damnation,  and  a  sorer  punishment  rcscned  for 
them  :  Clirist  would  thus  show  which  sin  was  most 
sinful,  by  showing  which  was  it  the  punishment 
whereof  was  most  dreadful. 

IV.  From  all  this  it  is  here  infeiTcd,  that  wc  ought 
carefully  to  preser\e  christian  line  and  jieacc  with 
all  our  brethren,  and  that  if  at  any  time  a  breach 
ha])pens,  we  should  labour  for  a  reconciliation,  by 
confessing  our  fault,  humbling  oursches  to  our  bro- 
ther, begging  his  pardon,  and  making  restitution,  or 
offering  satisfaction  for  wrong  done  in  word  or  deed, 
according  as  the  nature  of  the  thing  is  ;  iuid  that  we 
should  do  this  quickly,  for  two  reasons  : 

1.  Because,  till  this  be  done,  we  arc  utterly  unfit 
for  communion  with  God  in  holy  ordinances,  -v.  23, 
24.     The  case  supposed  is,  "  That  thy  brother  have 
somewhat  against  thee,  that  thou  hast  injured  and 
offended  him,  either  really,  or  in  his  apprehension  : 
if  thou  art  the  party  offended,  there  needs  not  this 
delay  ;  if  thou  have  auglrt  agairut  thy  brother,  make 
short  work  of  it ;  no  more  is  to  be  done  but  to  for- 
give him,  (Mark  11.  2o.)  and  forgive  the  injurj- ; 
but  if  the  quarrel  began  on  thy  side,  and  the  fault 
was  either  at  first  or  afterward  thine,  so  that  thy 
brother  has  a  controvcrs\-  w  ith  thee,  go  and  be  recon- 
ciled to  him  before  thou  offer  thy  gift  at  the  altar, 
before  thou  approach  solemnly  to  Goci  in  the  gospel- 
services  of  prayer  and  ]>raise,  hearing  the  w  ord  or 
the  sacraments.     Note,  (1.)  \Vhen  wc  are  address- 
ing ourselves  to  any  religious  exercises,  it  is  good  for 
us  to  take  that  occasion  of  serious  reflection  and  self- 
examin.ation  :  there  arc  many  things  to  be  remem- 
bered when  we  bring  our  gift  to  the  altar,  and  this 
among  the  rest,  w^hcther'c;.';-  brother  hath  aught 
against  us ;  then,  if  e\er,  we  are  disposed  to  be 
serious,  and  therefore  should  then  call  ourselves  to 
an  account.     (2.)  Religious  exercises  are  net  ac- 
ceptable to  God,  if  the\'  are  pcrfci-med  when  we  are 
in  w-rath  :  envy,  malice,  and  uncharitablcncss,  are 
sins  so  displeasing  to  God,  that  nothing  pleases  him 
which  comes  from  a  heart  wherein  they  are  predo- 
minant, 1  Tim.  2.  S.     Pravcrs  made  in  wrath  arc 
written  in  gall,  Isa.  1.    15'.— 58.   4.     (3.)  Love  or 
charity  is  so'much  better  tha7i  all bumt-cfferitigs  and 
sacrifice,  that  God  will  have  rcccnciliatirn  made  with 
an  offended  brother  l)efore  the  gift  be  offered  ;  he  is 
content  to  stay  forthegift_,  rather  than  have  it  offer- 
ed while  wc  are  under  g-uilt  and  engaged  in  a  quar- 
rel.    (4.)  Though  we  are  unfitted  for  communion 
with  Ciod,  b)-  a  continual  quaiTel  with  a  brother,  yet 
that  can  be  no  excuse  for  the  omission  or  neglect  of 
our  duty  :  "Leave  there  thy  gift  before  the  altar, 
lest  othenvise,  when  thou  art  gone  away,  thou  be  , 
tempted  not  to  come  again."    Manv  give  this  as  a  " 
reason  whv  they  do  not  come  to  church  or  to  the 
communion,  because  they  are  at  variance  with  some 
neighbour  ;  and  whose  fault  is  that  ?     One  sin  \n\\ 
never  excuse  another,  but  will  rather  double  the 
g\iilt     Want  of  charity  cannot  justify  the  want  of 
piety.     The  difficulty  is  easily  got  o\er  ;  those  who 
have  wronged  us,  we  must  forgive  ;  and  those  whom 
we  have  wronged,  we  must  make  satisfaction  to,  or 
at  least  make  a  tender  of  it,  and  desire  a  renew  al  of 
the  friendship,  so  that  if  remciliat'on  bp  not  made, 


56 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V. 


it  may  not  be  our  fault ;  and  then  come,  come  and 
.  welcome,  come  and  offer  thy  gift,  and  it  shall  be 
accepted.  Therefore  we  must  not  let  the  sun  go 
down  liflon  our  wrath  any  day,  because  we  must  go 
to  prayer  before  we  go  to  sleep  ;  much  less  let  the 
sun  rise  ufion  our  -wrath  on  a  sabbath-day,  because 
it  is  a  day  of  prayer. 

2.  Because,  till  this  be  done,  we  lie  exposed  to 
much  danger,  v.  25,  26.  It  is  at  our  peril  if  we  do 
not  labour  after  an  agreement,  and  that  quickly, 
upon  two  accounts  : 

(1.)  Upon  a  temporal  account  If  the  offence  we 
have  done  to  our  brother,  in  his  body,  goods,  or  re- 
putation, be  such  as  will  bear  an  action,  in  which  he 
may  recover  considerable  damages,  it  is  our  wis- 
dom, and  it  is  duty  to  our  family,  to  prevent  that  by 
a  humble  submission  and  a  just  and  peaceable  satis- 
faction ;  lest  otherwise  he  recover  it  by  law,  and  put 
u.,  to  tlie  extremity  of  a  prison.  In  such  a  case  it  is 
better  to  compound  and  malce  the  best  terms  we 
^an,  than  to  stand  it  out ;  for  it  is  in  vain  to  contend 
with  the  law,  and  there  is  danger  of  our  being 
orushed  bv  it.  Manv  iiiin  their  estates  by  an  otjsti- 
nate  persisting  in  the  offences  they  have  given, 
which  would  soon  have  been  pacified  by  a  little 
y  ielding  at  first.  Solomon's  advice  in  case  of  sure- 
tyship is.  Go,  humble  thyself,  and  so  secure  ajid 
delwer  thyself,  Prov.  6.  1 — 5.  It  is  good  to  agi-ee, 
for  the  law  is  costlv.  Though  we  must  be  merciful 
to  those  we  have  advantage  against,  yet  we  must  be 
just  to  those  that  have  advantage  against  us,  as  far  as 
we  are  able,  ".igree,  and  compound  with  thine ad- 
versaru  quicklv,  lest  he  b&  exasperated  by  thy  stub- 
bornness, and  provoked  to  insist  upon  the  utmost 
demand,  and  will  not  make  thee  the  abatement 
which  at  fii-st  he  would  have  made. "  A  prison  is  an 
uncomfortable  place  to  those  who  are  brought  to  it 
by  their  own  pride  and  prodigality,  their  own  wilful- 
ness and  folly. 

(2.)  Upon  a  spiritual  account.  "Go,  and  be 
reconciled  to  thy  brother,  be  just  to  him,  be  friendly 
with  him,  because  while  the  quarrel  continues,  as 
thou  art  unfit  to  bri7ig  thy  gift  to  the  altar,  unfit  to 
come  to  the  table  of  the  Lord,  so  thou  art  unfit  to 
die  :  if  tiiou  persist  in  this  sin,  there  is  danger  lest 
thou  be  suddenly  snatched  away  by  the  wrath  of 
God,  whose  judgment  thou  canst  not  escape  nor  ex- 
cept against ;  and  if  that  iniquity  be  laid  to  thy 
charge,  thou  art  undone  for  ever."  Hell  is  the  pri- 
son for  all  that  live  and  die  in  malice  and  uncharita- 
bleness,  for  all  that  are  contentious,  (Rom.  2.  8.)  and 
out  of  tliat  prison  thei-e  is  no  rescue,  no  redemption, 
no  escape,  to  eternity. 

This  is  very  applicable  to  the  great  business  of  our 
reconciliation  to  God  through  Christ  ;  ^gree  with 
him  quickly,  whilst  thou  art  in  the  way.  Note,  [1.] 
The  great  God::  is  an  adversary  to  all  sinners, 
'  AvTiJinot — A  lanv-adversary  ;  he  has  a  controverey 
with  them,  an  action  against  them.  [0.]  It  is  our 
concern  to  agree  with  him,  to  acquaint  ourselves  with 
him,  that  we  may  be  at  peace.  Job  22.  21.  2  Cor. 
5.  20.  [3.]  It  is  our  wisdom  to  do  this  quickly, 
while  we  are  in  the  way.  ^\^lile  we  are  alive,  we 
are  in  the  way  ;  after  death,  it  will  be  too  late  to  do 
it ;  therefore  gix'e  not  sleefi  to  thine  eyes  till  it  be 
done.  [4.]  They  who  continue  in  a  state  of  enmity 
to  God,  are  continually  exposed  to  the  arrests  of  his 
justice,  and  the  most  dreadful  instances  of  his  wrath. 
Christ  is  the  Judge,  to  whom  impenitent  sinners  will 
be  delivered  ;  for  all  judgment  is  committed  to  the 
Son ;  he  that  was  rejected  as  a  Saviour,  cannot  be 
escaped  as  a  Judge,  Rev.  6.  16,  17.  It  is  a  fearful 
thing  to  be  thus  turned  over  to  the  Lord  Jesus,  when 
the  Lamb  shall  become  a  Lion.  Angels  are  the  offi- 
cers to  whom  Christ  mil  deliver  them  :  (f  A.  13.  41, 
42.)  de\-ils  are  so  too,  having  the  fiower  of  death  as 
executioners  to  all  unbelievers,  Heb.  2.  14.     Hell  is 


the  prison  into  which  those  wiU  be  cast  that  continue 
in  a  state  of  enmity  to  God,  2  Pet.  2.  4.  [5.] 
Damned  sinners  must  remain  in  it  to  eternity  ;  they 
shall  not  depart  till  they  have  paid  the  uttermost 
farthing,  and  that  will  not  be  to  the  utmost  ages  of 
eternity  :  Divine  justice  will  be  for  ever  satisfying, 
but  never  satisfied. 

27.  Ye  have  heard  that  it  was  said  by 
them  of  old  time,  Thou  shalt  not  commit 
adultery :  28.  But  I  say  unto  you.  That 
whosoever  looketh  on  a  woman  to  lust 
after  her,  hath  committed  adultery  with 
her  already  in  his  heart.  29.  And  if  thy 
right  eye  offend  thee,  pluck  it  out,  and  cast 
it  fiom  thee  :  for  it  is  profitable  for  thee 
that  one  of  thy  members  should  perish, 
and  not  that  thy  whole  body  should  be  cast 
into  hell.  30.  And  if  thy  right  hand  offeni^ 
thee,  cut  it  off,  and  cast  it  from  thee :  for  it 
is  profitable  for  thee  that  one  of  thy  mem- 
bers should  perish,  and  not  that  thy  whole 
body  should  be  cast  into  hell.  31.  It  hath 
been  said,  Whosoever  shall  put  away  his 
wife,  let  him  give  her  a  writing  of  divorce- 
ment :  32.  But  I  say  unto  you,  Tiiat  who- 
soever shall  put  away  his  wife,  saving  for 
the  cause  of  fornication,  causeth  her  to  com- 
mit adultery:  and  whosoever  shall  n^arry 
her  that  is  divorced,  committeth  adultery. 

\\'e  ha\'e  here  an  exposition  of  the  seventh  com- 
mandment, given  us  by  the  same  hand  that  made 
the  law,  and  therefore  was  fittest  to  be  the  inter- 
preter of  it  :  it  is  the  law  against  uncleanness,  which 
fitly  follows  upon  the  foi-mer  ;  that  laid  a  restraint 
upon  sinful  passions,  this  upon  sinful  appetites,  both 
which  ought  always  to  be  under  the  government  of 
reason  and  conscience,  and  if  indulged  are  equally 
pernicious. 

I.  The  command  is  here  laid  down,  {xk  17.)  Thou 
shalt  not  commit  adulteni ;  which  includes  a  prohi- 
Ijition  of  all  other  acts  of  uncleanness,  and  the  de- 
sire of  them  :  but  the  Pharisees,  in  their  expositions 
of  this  command,  made  it  to  extend  no  further  than 
the  act  of  adultery,  suggesting,  that  if  the  iniquity 
was  only  regarded  in  the  heart,  and  went  no  further, 
God  coiild  not  hear  it,  %vould  not  regard  it,  (Ps.  66. 
18. )  and  therefore  they  thought  it  enough  to  be  able 
to  say  that  they  were  7io  adulterers,  Luke  18.  11. 

II.  It  is  here  explained  in  the  strictness  of  it,  in 
three  things,  which  would  seem  new  and  strange  to 
those  who  had  been  always  governed  by  the  tradi- 

I  tion  of  the  elders,  and  took  all  for  oracular  that  they 
taught. 

1.  We  are  here  taught,  that  there  is  such  a  thing 
as  heart-adultery,  adulterous  thoughts  and  disposi- 
tions, which  never  proceed  to  the  act  of  adultery  or 
fornication  ;  and  perhaps  the  defilement  which  these 
give  to  the  soul,  that  is  here  so  clearly  asserted,  was 
not  only  included  in  the  seventh  commandment,  but 
was  signified  and  intended  in  many  of  those  cere- 
monial pollutions  under  the  law,  for  which  they  were 
to  vjasti  their  clothes,  and  bathe  their  flesh  in  water. 
If^hosoci'er  looketh  on  a  woman,  (not  only  another 
man's  wife,  as  some  would  have  it,  but  any  woman,) 
to  lust  after  her,  has  committed  adultery  with  her  in 
his  heart,  v.  28.  This  command  forbids  not  only  the 
acts  of  fornication  or  adultery,  but,  (1.)  All  appe- 
tites to  them,  all  lusting  after  the  forbidden  object ; 
this  is  the  beginning  of  the  sin,  lust  conceh<ing : 
(Jam.  1.  15.)  it  is  a  bad  step  toward  the  sin;  and 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V. 


Al 


where  the  lust  is  dwelt  upon  and  apjirovcd,  and  the 
wanton  desire  is  rolled  under  tlie  tongue  as  a  sweet 
morsel,  it  is  the  commission  of  the  sin,  as  far  as  the 
heart  can  do  it ;  there  wants  nothinir  hut  a  conve- 
nient o])orti!nity  for  the  sin  itself,  .idultrra  mens 
est — The  mtini  is  (Ivbauchcd.  Ovid.  Lust  is  consci- 
ence baffled  or  biiissed  ;  biassed,  if  it  say  nothing 
against  th.c  sin  ;  bafHed,  if  it  prevail  not  m  wliat  it 
says.  (2.)  All  approaches  toward  tlieni  ;  feeding 
the  eve  with  the  siglit  of  the  forbidden  fniit  ;  not 
onlv  l(M)king  for  that  end,  that  I  niav  hist  ;  but  look- 
ing till  I  do  lust,  or  looking  to  gratify  the  lust,  where 
further  satisfaction  cannot  be  olrtained.  The  eye  is 
both  the  inlet  and  outlet  of  a  great  deal  of  wick- 
edness of  this  kind,  witness  Joseph's  mistress,  (Gen. 
.^9.  r.)  Samson,  (Judg.  16.  1.)  David,  2  Sam.  U. 
2.  \\'e  read  of  eve*  full  of  nduttery,  that  cannot 
ceasf  from  sin,  2  Pet  2.  14.  What  need  ha\  c  we, 
therefore,  with  holy  Job,  to  malre  a  covenant  ivit/i 
our  eyes,  to  make  this  bargain  with  them,  that  they 
should  have  tlic  pleasure  of  beholding  the  light  of 
the  sun  and  the  works  of  fiod,  prcnided  tliey  would 
never  fasten  or  dwell  upon  any  thing  that  might 
occasion  impure  imaginations  or  desires  ;  and  under 
this  ])enalty,  that  if  thev  did,  they  nuist  smart  for  it 
in  penitential  tears  !  Jol)  31.  1.  \\'hat  have  we  the 
covering  of  the  eyes  for,  but  to  restrain  cornipt 
glances,  and  to  keep  out  their  defiling  imjiressions  .' 
Tliis  forbids  also  the  using  of  any  other  ot  our  senses 
to  stir  U])  lust.  If  insnaring  looks  are  forbidden  fruit, 
much  more  unclean  discourses,  and  wanton  dalli- 
ances, the  fuel  and  bellows  of  this  hellish  fire.  These 
precepts  are  hedges  about  the  law  of  lieart-pui'itv, 
V.  8.  And  if  looking  be  lust,  thev  who  dress  aiid 
deck,  and  expose  themselves,  with  design  to  be 
looked  at  and  lusted  after,  (like  Jezebel,  that  fiaint- 
ed  her  face  and  tired  her  head,  and  looked  out  of  the 
ivindo'Li', )  are  no  less  guilty.  Men  sin,  but  devils 
tempt  to  sin. 

2.  That  such  looks  and  such  dalliances  are  so  ven' 
dangerous  and  destructive  to  the  soul,  that  it  is  better 
to  lose  the  eye  and  th.c  hand  that  thus  offend,  than 
to  ^ve  way  to  the  sin,  and  perish  eteniallv  in  it. 
This  lesson  is  here  taught  us,  v.  29,  30.  CoiTupt 
nature  would  soon  oljject  against  the  prohibition  of 
heart-adultery,  that  it  is  impossible  to  be  governed 
by  it ;  "  It  is  a  hard  sai/ing;  ivho  can  hear  it  ?  Flesh 
and  blood  cannot  but  look  with  pleasure  upon  a 
beautiful  woman ;  and  it  is  impossible  to  forbear 
lusting  after  and  dallying  with  such  an  object." 
Such  pretences  as  these  will  scarcely  be  overcome 
by  reason,  and  therefore  must  be  argued  against 
with  the  terrors  of  the  Lord,  and  so  they  arc  here 
argued  against. 

(1.)  It  isa  severe  operation  that  is  here  prescribed 
for  the  preventing  of  these  fleshly  lusts.  Ifthxi  rit^ht 
eye  offend  thee,  or  cause  thee  to  offend,  bv  wanton 
glances,  or  wanton  gazings,  upon  forbidden  objects  ; 
if  thy  rii;ht  hand  offend  thee,  or  cause  thee  to  offend, 
ov  wanton  dalliances  ;  and  if  it  were  indeed  impos- 
sible, as  is  pretended,  to  govei-n  the  eve  and  the 
hand,  and  they  have  been  so  accustomed  to  these 
wicked  practices,  that  thev  will  not  be  withheld  from 
thern  ;  if  there  were  no  other  wav  to  restrain  them, 
(which,  blessed  be  (iod,  through  his  gi-ace,  there 
is,)  it  were  better  for  us  to  filuck  out  theei/e,  and  cut 
off  the  hand,  though  the  right  eve,  and  rit^ht  hand, 
the  more  honourable  and  useful,  than  to  indulge  them 
in  sin  to  the  ruin  of  the  soul.  And  if  this  must  be 
submitted  to,  at  the  thought  of  which  nature  startles, 
much  more  must  we  resolve  to  kee/i  under  the  body, 
and  to  bring  it  into  subjection  ;  to  live  a  life  of  mor- 
tification and  self-denial ;  to  keep  a  constant  watch 
over  our  own  hearts,  and  to  suppress  the  first  rising 
of  lust  and  corruption  there  ;  to  avoid  the  occasions 
of  sin,  to  resist  the  beginnings  of  it,  and  to  decline 
the  company  of  those  who  will  be  a  snare  to  us. 

Vol.  v.— H 


though  ever  so  pleasing;  tokeepoiit  of  harm's  way, 
and  al)ri<igc  ourselves  in  the  use  of  lawful  things, 
wlieu  we  find  them  temptations  to  us ;  and  to  seek 
unto  (iod  for  his  grace,  and  de])end  upon  tliat  grace 
diiily,  and  so  to  neutk  in  the  Sfiirit,  as  that  we  may 
not  fu//!l  the  lusts  of  the  flesh  ;  and  this  will  be  as 
effectual  as  cutting-  off  a  right  hand  or/tullmff  out  a 
right  eye  ;  and  perhaps  as  much  against  the  grain  to 
Hesh  and  blood  ;  it  is  the  desti-uction  of  the  old 
man. 

(1.)  It  is  a  startling  argument  that  is  m.ade  use  of 
to  enforce  this  ])rescrii)tion,  {v.  29.)  and  it  is  re])eat- 
ed  in  the  same  words,  {v.  30.)  because  we  are  loth 
to  hear  such  rough  things  ;  Isa.  30.  10.  //  is  firo- 
Jitablcfor  thee  that  one  of  thy  members  should  furish, 
though  it  be  an  eye  or  a  hand,  w  liirli  can  be  worst 
spared,  and  not  that  thy  ivhole  body  should  be  cast 
into  hell.  Note,  [1.]  It  is  not  unbeccming  a  minis- 
ter of  the  gos])cl  to  preach  of  hell  and  damnation  ; 
nav,  he  must  do  it,  for  Christ  himself  did  it ;  and  we 
are  unfaithful  to  our  tnist,  if  we  give  not  warning  of 
the  ivrath  to  come..  [2.]  There  arc  seme  sins  from 
which  we  need  to  be  saved  nvith  fear,  jjarticularly 
fleshhi  lusts,  which  are  such  natural  brute  beasts  as 
cannot  be  checked,  but  by  being  frightened  ;  cannot 
be  kept  from  a  forbidden  tree,  but  by  a  cherubim 
•ith  a  flaming  sivord.  [3.]  \\'lien  we  arc  tempted 
to  think  it  hard  to  deny  ourselves,  and  to  crucify 
fleshly  lusts,  wc  ought  to  consider  how  nnich  harder 
it  will  be  to  lie  for  ever  in  the  lake  that  burns  T.'ith 
Jire  and  brimstone :  those  do  not  know  or  do  not  be- 
lieve what  hell  is,  that  will  rather  venture  their  eter- 
nal niin  in  those  flames,  than  deny  themselves  the 
gratification  of  a  base  and  bititish  lust.  [4.]  In  hell 
there  will  be  tomients  for  the  body  ;  the  nvhole  body 
will  be  cast  into  hell,  and  there  will  be  torment  in 
exciT  part  of  it ;  so  that  if  we  ha\e  any  care  of  our 
own  bodies,  we  shall  fiossess  them  in  sanctijlcation 
and  honour,  and  not  in  the  lusts  ofuncleanness.  [5.] 
Even  those  duties  that  are  most  unpleasant  to  flesh 
and  blood,  m'c  firqfitable  for  lis ;  and  our  Master  re- 
quires nothing  from  us  but  what  he  knows  to  be  for 
our  advantage. 

3.  That  men's  divorcing  their  wives  upon  dislike, 
or  for  any  other  cause  except  adultciy,  however  to- 
lerated and  practised  among  the  Jews,  was  a  \iola- 
tion  of  the  seventh  commandment,  as  it  opened  a 
door  to  adultery,  f.  31,  32.     Here  obsci-ve, 

(1.)  How  the  matter  now  stood  with  reference  to 
divorce.  It  hath  been  ."aid,  (he  docs  not  say,  as  be- 
fore. It  hath  been  said  by  them  of  old  time,  because 
this  was  not  a  precept,  as  those  were,  though  the 
Phaiisecs  were  willing  so  to  understand  it,  (eh.  19.  T.) 
but  onlv  a  pei-mission,)  "  ll7iosoeTer shall fiut  airay 
his  ".vif;  let  him  grve  her  a  bill  of  dix'orce ;  let  him 
not  tliink  to  do  it  bv  word  of  mruth,  w  hen  he  is  in  a 
passion  ;  but  let  him  do  it  delibei»tely,  by  a  legal 
instrtiment  in  writing,  attested  by  witnesses  ;  if  he 
will  dissoh  e  the  matrimonial  bend,  let  him  do  it  so- 
lemnly." Thus  the  law  had  prevented  rash  and 
hast\'  divorces  ;  and  perhaps  at  first,  when  writing 
was  not  so  common  among  the  Jews,  that  made  di- 
vorces rare  things  ;  but  in  process  of  time  they  be- 
came very  common,  and  this  direction  how  to  do  it 
when  there  was  just  cause  for  it,  was  construed  into 
a  permission  of  it,  for  any  cause,  ch.  19.  3. 

(2. )  How  this  matter  was  rectified  and  amended  by 
our  Saviour.  He  reduced  the  ordinance  of  maiTiage 
to  its  primitive  institution,  Thnj  tiro  shall  be  one 
flesh,  not  to  be  easily  separated,  and  therefore  a  di- 
vorce is  not  to  be  allowed,  excejit  in  case  of  adultery, 
which  breaks  the  marriage-covenant ;  but  he  that 
puts  awa\-  his  wife  upon  any  other  pretence,  causeth 
her  to  commit  adultery,  and  him  also  that  shall  marry 
her  when  she  is  thus  divorced.  Note,  Those  who 
lead  others  into  temptation  to  sin,  or  leave  them  m 
it,  or  expose  them  to  it,  make  themselves  guilty  of 


58 


ST.  MATTHEW,  V, 


their  sin,  and  will  be  accountable  for  it.     This  is  one 
-vay  of  being  partaker  ivitli  adulterers,  Ps.  50.  18. 

33.  Again,  ye  have  heard  that  it  hath 
been  said  by  them  of  old  time.  Thou  shalt 
not  forswear  thyself,  but  shalt  perform  unto 
the  Lord  lliine  oaths :  34.  But  I  say  unto 
you,  Swear  not  at  all ;  neither  by  heaven ; 
for  it  is  God's  throne :  35.  Nor  by  the  earth, 
for  it  is  his  footstool :  neither  by  Jerusalem ; 
for  it  is  the  city  of  the  great  King.  36.  Nei- 
ther shalt  thou  swear  by  thy  head,  because 
thou  canst  not  make  one  hair  white  or  black : 
37.  But  let  your  communication  be,  Yea, 
yea;  Nay,  nay:  for  whatsoever  is  more  than 
these,  cometh  of  evil. 

We  have  here  an  exposition  of  the  third  command- 
ment, which  we  are  the  more  concerned  rightly  to 
understand,  because  it  is  particularly  said,  that  God 
will  not  hold  him  guiltless,  however  he  may  hold 
himself,  who  breaks  this  commandment,  by  taking 
the  name  uf  the  Lord  God  in  vain.  Kow  as  to  this 
command, 

I.  It  is  agreed  on  all  hands  that  it  forbids  perjury, 
forswearing,  and  the  violation  of  oaths  and  vows,  v. 
33.  This  was  said  to  them  of  old  time,  and  is  the 
trae  intent  and  nieaningof  the  third  commandment. 
Thou  shalt  not  use,  or  take  uji,  the  name  of  God  {as 
we  do  by  an  oath)  in  vain,  or  itnto  vanity,  or  a  lie. 
He  hath  not  lift  ufi  his  soul  untovanity,  is  expound- 
ed in  the  next  words,  7ior  sworn  deceitfully,  Ps.  24. 
4.  Perjury  is  a  sin  condemned  by  the  light  of  nature, 
as  a  complication  of  impiety  toward  God  and  injus- 
tice toward  man,  and  as  rendering  a  man  highlv  ob- 
noxious to  the  divine  wrath,  which  was  always  judged 
to  follow  so  infallibly  upon  that  sin,  that  the  forms 
of  sweaj-ing  were  commonly  turned  into  execi-ations 
or  imprecations ;  as  that,  God  do  so  to  me,  and  more 
also  ;  and  with  us.  So  hel/i  me,  God  ;  wishing  I  mav 
ne\-er  liave  any  help  from  God,  if  I  swear  falselv. 
Thus,  by  the  consent  of  nations,  have  men  cursed 
themsehes,  not  doubting  but  that  CJod  would  curse 
them,  if  they  lied  against  the  ti-uth  then,  when  they 
solemnly  called  God  to  witness  to  it 

It  is  added,  from  some  other  scriptures,  but  shalt 
perform  unto  the  Lord  thine  oaths ;  (Numb.  30.  2.) 
which  ma\'  be  meant,  either,  1.  Of  those  promises 
to  which  God  is  a  party,  \-ows  made  to  God  ;  these 
must  be  punctually  paid  :  (Eccl.  5.  4,  5.)  or,  2.  Of 
those  promises  made  to  our  brethren,  to  which  God 
was  a  Witness,  he  being  appe;iled  to  concerning  our 
sincerity  ;  these  must  be  performed  to  the  Lord,  with 
an  eye  to  him,  and  for  his  sake  :  for  to  him,  by  ra- 
tifying the  projtise  with  an  oath,  we  have  made  our- 
selves debtors  ;  and  if  we  break  a  promise  so  rati- 
fied, we  hax'e  not  lied  unto  men  only,  but  unto  God. 

II.  It  is  here  added,  that  the  commandment  does 
not  only  forbid  false  swearing,  but  all  rash,  unneces- 
sary swearing  :  Swear  not  at  all,  v.  34.  Compare 
Jam.  5.  12.  Not  that  all  swearing  is  sinful,  so  far 
from  that,  if  rightly  done,  it  is  a  part  of  religious 
worship,  and  we  in  it  give  unto  God  the  s^lorv  due 
to  his  najne.     See  Deut.  6.  13. — 10.  20.     Isa.  45.  23. 


Jer. 


We  find  Paul  confirming  what  he  said  by 


such  solemnities,  (2  Cor.  1.  23.)  when  there  was  a 
necessity  for  it.  In  swearing,  we  pawn  the  tnith  of 
something  known,  to  confirm  the  truth  of  something 
doubtful  or  unknown ;  we  ap])eal  to  a  greater  know- 
ledge, to  a  higher  court,  and  imprecate  the  ven- 
geance of  a  righteous  Judge,  if  we  swear  deceitfully. 
Now  the  mind  of  Christ  in  this  matter  is, 
1.  That  we  must  yiot  swear  at  all,  but  when  we 
are  duly  called  to  it,  and  justice  or  charity  to  our 


brother,  or  respect  to  the  commonwealth,  makf  it 
necessary  for  the  end  of  strife,  (Heb.  6.  16. )  of  whi<  h 
necessity  the  civil  magistrate  is  ordinarily  to  be  the 
judge.  W'e  may  be  sworn,  but  we  must  net  swear , 
we  may  be  adjured,  and  so  obliged  to  it,  but  we 
must  not  thrust  ourselves  upon  it  for  our  own  world- 
ly advantage. 

2.  That  we  must  not  swear  lightly  and  irreverent- 
ly in  common  discourse :  it  is  a  veiy  gi-eat  sin  to 
make  a  ludicrous  appeal  to  the  glorious  Majesty  ot 
heaven,  which,  being  a  sacred  thing,  ought  always 
to  be  very  serious  :  it  is  a  gross  profanation  cf  God's 
holy  name,  and  of  one  of  the  holy  things  which  the 
children  oj  Israel  sanctify  to  the  Lord :  it  is  a  sin 
that  has  no  cloak,  no  excuse  for  it,  and  therefore 
a  sign  of  a  graceless  heart,  in  which  enmity  to  God 
reigns  ;   Thine  enemies  take  thy  name  in  vain. 

3.  That  we  must  in  a  special  manner  avoid  pro- 
missory oaths,  of  which  Christ  more  particularly 
speaks  here,  for  they  are  oaths  that  are  to  be  per- 
formed. The  influence  of  an  afiirmative  oath  imme- 
diately ceases,  when  we  have  faithfully  discovered 
the  ti-uth,  and  the  whole  truth  ;  but  a  promissory 
oath  binds  so  long,  and  may  be  so  many  ways  broken, 
by  the  surprise  as  well  as  strength  of  a  temptation, 
that  it  is  not  to  be  used  but  upon  great  necessity  :  the 
frequent  requiring  and  using  of  oaths,  is  a  reflection 
upon  christians,  who  should  be  cf  such  acknowledged 
fidelity,  as  that  their  sober  words  should  be  as  sacred 
as  their  solemn  oaths. 

4.  That  we  must  not  swear  by  any  creature.  It 
should  seem  there  were  some,  who,  in  ci\ility(as 
they  thought)  to  the  name  of  God,  would  net  make 
use  of  that  in  swearing,  but  would  swear  by  heaven 
or  earth,  ijfc.  This  Christ  forbids  here,  '{v.  34.) 
and  shows  that  there  is  nothing  we  can  swear  by, 
but  it  is  some  way  or  other  related  to  God,  who  is 
the  Fountain  of  all  beings,  and  therefore  it  is  as  dan- 
gerous to  swear  by  them,  as  it  is  to  swear  by  God 
himself :  it  is  the  verity  of  the  creature  that  is  laid 
at  stake  ;  now  that  cannot  be  an  instnament  of  tes- 
timonv,  but  as  it  has  regard  to  Gcd,  who  is  the  S7im- 
mum  verum — the  chief  Truth.     As,  for  instance, 

(1.)  Swear  not  by  the  heaven  ;  "  As  sure  as  there 
is  a  heaven,  this  is  tnie ;"  for  it  is  God's  throne, 
where  he  resides,  and  in  a  particular  manner  mani- 
fests his  glory,  as  a  Prince  uprn  his  throne :  this 
being  the  inseparable  dignity  of  the  upper  world, 
you  cannot  swear  by  heaven,  but  you  swear  by  God 
himself. 

(2. )  A'or  by  the  earth,  for  it  is  his  footstool.  He 
go\eiTis  the  motions  of  this  lower  world  ;  as  he  rules 
in  heaven,  so  he  miles  o\er  the  earth  ;  and  though 
under  his  feet,  vet  it  is  also  under  his  eye  and  care, 
and  stands  in  relation  to  him  as  his,  Ps.  24.  1.  The 
earth  is  the  Lord's ,-  so  that  in  swearing  by  it,  you 
swear  bv  its  Owner. 

(3.)  A'either  by  Jerusalem,  a  place  for  which  the 
Jews  had  such  a  veneration,  that  they  cculd  net 
speak  of  anv  thing  more  sacred,  to  swear  by ;  1)ut 
beside  the  common  reference  Jerusalem  has  to  Gcd, 
as  part  of  the  earth,  it  is  in  special  relation  to  him, 
for  it  is  the  city  of  the  great  King,  (Ps.  4S.  2.)  the  city 
of  God,  (Ps.  46.  4.)  he  is  therefore  interested  in  it, 
and  in  e\e)y  oath  taken  b}'  it. 

(4. )  "M'ither shalt  thou  sieearby  thy  head ;  though 
it  be  near  thee,  and  an  essential  part  of  thee,  vet  it 
is  more  God's  than  thine  ;  for  he  made  it,  ;aid  form- 
ed all  the  springs  and  powers  of  it ;  whereas  thcu 
thyself  canst  not,  from  any  natural,  intrinsic  influ- 
ence, change  the  colour  of  one  hair,  so  as  to  make 
it  white  or  black  ;  so  that  thou  canst  not  swear  by 
thy  head,  but  thou  swearest  by  him  who  is  the  Life 
of  thy  head,  and  the  Lifter  up  of  it."    Ps.  3.  3. 

5.  That  therefore  in  all  our  communication  we 
must  content  ourselves  with,  Yea,  yea,  and,  .Vay, 
nay,  v.  3".     In  ordinar)'  discourse,  if  we  affirm  a 


ST.  MATTHKW,  V. 


69 


thing,  lot  us  only  sav,  Yea,  it  is  so ;  and,  if  need  be, 
to  cvidcMK-e  our  assurance  of  a  tiling,  we  may  double 
it,  and  sav.  Yea,  yea,  indeed  it  is  so :  /Vn/i/,  verily, 
w;us  our  tiiviour's  tjea,  i/ia.  So  if  we  deny  a  thing, 
let  it  suffice  tn  s:»v,  No";  or,  if  it  be  requisite,  to  re- 
peat the  denial,  and  sav,  No,  no  ;  and  it  our  hdelity 
be  known,  tliat  will  suffice  to  gain  us  credit ;  and  it 
it  lie  questioned,  to  back  what  we  say  with  swearing 
and  cui-sing,  is  but  to  render  it  more  suspicions. 
Tliev  who  can  sirallo'H'  a  profane  oath,  will  not  it  ram 
am 'lie.  It  isapitv,  that  this,  which  Christ  puts 
in  the  mouths  of  all  liis  disciples,  should  be  fastened, 
as  a  name  of  reproach,  upon  a  sect  faultv  enough 
other  wavs,  when  (as  Dr.  Hammond  says)  we  are 
not  only  forbidden  any  more  than  yea  and  nay,  but 
are  in  a  manner  directed  to  the  use  of  that. 

Tlie  reason  is  observable  ;  For  ii'/iatxcever  is  more 
than  these  cometli  ofex'il,  though  it  do  not  amount  to 
the  iniquitv  of  an  oath.  It  comes  U  t»  Jii/Im  ;  so 
an  ancient  copy  has  it :  it  comes/;-o?»  l/ie  Devi!,  the 
evil  one  ;  it  conies  from  the  corruption  of  men's  na- 
ture, from  passion  and  vehemence  ;  from  a  rciijning 
vanity  in  the  mind,  and  a  coiitcnipt  of  sacred  things  : 
it  comes  from  that  deccitfulness  wdiich  is  in  men, 
ylll  men  are  liars  ;  therefore  men  use  these  protes- 
Uitions,  because  thev  are  disti-ustful  one  of  another, 
and  think  thev  cannot  be  believed  without  them. 
Note,  Christiaiis  should,  for  the  credit  of  their  re- 
ligion, avoid  not  onlv  that  which  is  in  itself  evil,  but 
t/iat  ivhicli  Cometh  ofevil,  and  has  the  a/i/iearance  of 
it  That  may  be  suspected  as  a  bad  thing,  which 
comes  from  a'bad  cause.  An  oath  is  physic,  which 
supposes  a  disease. 

38.  Ye  have  heard  that  it  hath  been 
said.  An  eye  for  an  eye,  and  a  tootli  for  a 
tooth:  39.  But  I  say  unto  you,  that  ye 
resist  not  evil :  hut  whosoever  shall  smite 
thee  on  thy  rijiht  cheek,  turn  to  him  the 
other  also.  40.  And  if  any"  man  will  sue 
thee  at  the  law,  and  take  away  thy  coat, 
let  him  have  thy  cloak  also.  41.  And  who- 
soever sliail  compel  thee  to  go  a  mile,  go 
with  him  tv.ain.  42.  Give  to  him  that  ask- 
Dth  thee,  and  from  him  that  would  boiTOw 
of  thee  turn  not  thou  away. 

In  these  verses  the  law  of  retaliation  is  expound- 
ed, and  in  a  manner  repealed.     Obsei-\e, 

I.  ^\"hat  the  Old  Testament /lermissiott  was,  in  case 
of  injurv  ;  and  here  the  expression  is  only,  Ye  have 
heard  that  it  has  been  said  ;  not,  as  before,  concern- 
ing the  commands  of  the  decalogue,  that  it  has  been 
said  by,  or  to,  them  of  old  time.  It  was  not  a  com- 
mand, that  eveiy  one  should  of  necessity  require  such 
satisfaction  ;  liut  they  might  lawfully  insist  upon  it, 
if  thev  pleased  ;  an  eve  for  an  et/e,  and  a  tooth  for  a 
tooth.'  This  we  find,  "Exod.  21.  24.  Lev.  24.  20. 
Dcut.  19.  21.  in  all  wliicli  places  it  is  appointed  to 
be  done  by  the  magistrate,  who  bears  7iot  the  sivord 
in  x>ain,  but  is  the  minister  of  God,  an  avenp^er  to  ex- 
ecute  ivrath,  llom.  13.  4.  It  was  a  direction  to  the 
judges  of  the  Jewish  nation  what  punishments  to  in- 
flict in  case  of  maims,  for  terror  to  such  as  would  do 
mischief  on  the  one  hand,  and  for  a  restraint  to  such 
as  have  mischief  done  to  them  on  the  other  hand, 
that  thev  mav  not  insist  on  a  gi-eater  punishment 
than  is  proper :  it  is  not  a  life  for  an  eye,  nor  a  limb 
for  a  tooth,  but  obsene  a  proportion  ;  and  it  is  inti- 
mated, (Numb.  35.  31.)  that  the  forfeiture  in  this 
case  might  be  redeemed  with  money  ;  for  when  it 
IS  provided  that  no  ransom  shall  be  taken  for  the  life 
of  a  murderer,  it  is  supposed  that  for  maims  a  pe- 
cuniary satisfaction  was  allowed. 


Rut  some  of  the  Jewish  teachers,  who  were  not 
the  most  compassionate  men  in  the  world,  insisted 
upon  it  as  neccssai-)',  that  such  revenge  should  lie 
taken,  even  b\-  pi-ivate  persons  themselves,  and  that 
there  was  no  room  left  for  remission,  or  the  accept- 
ance of  satisfaction.  Even  now,  when  they  were  un- 
der the  go\  cnimcnt  of  the  Komaii  magistrates,  and 
consequently  the  judicial  law  fell  to  the  ground  of 
course,  yet  they  w  ere  still  zealous  for  aii\-  thing  that 
looked  harsh  aiid  severe. 

Now,  so  far  this  is  in  force  with  us,  as  a  direction 
to  magistrates,  to  use  the  sword  of  justice  according 
to  the  good  and  wholesome  laws  of  the  land,  for  the 
terror  of  evil-doers,  and  the  vindication  of  the  op- 
pressed. That  judge  neither  feared  God,  nor  re- 
garded man,  who  would  not  rn'tvi^-c  the  poor  widow 
of  her  adversani,  Luke  18..  2,  3.  And  it  is  in  force 
as  a  rule  to  lawgivers,  to  provide  accc;rdingly,  and 
wisely  to  aiiportion  punishments  to  ci-imes,  for  the 
restraint  of  rapine  and  violence,  and  the  protection 
of  innnccncv. 

11.  WtiaixXvi  .Netv-Testament  fireceftt  \i.     As  to 
the  complainant  himself,  his  duty  is,  to  forifix-e  the 
injury  as  done  to  himself,  and  no  further  to  insist 
upon  "the  punishment  of  it  than  is  necessaiy  to  the 
public  good :  and  this  precept  is  consonant  to  the 
meekness  of  Christ,  and  the  gentleness  of  his  yoke. 
Two  things  Christ  teaches  us  here. 
1.  We  must  not  be  revengeful ;  (t.  39.)  I  say  unto 
uou,  that  ye  resist  not  ei'il ; — the  evil  jierson  that  is 
injurious  to  you.     The  resisting  of  any  ill  attempt 
upon  us,  is  here  as  generally  and  cxpressh-  forbidden, 
as  the  resisting'  of  the  higher  fio'-.uers  is ;  (Urm.  13.  2.) 
and  yet  this  does  not  repeal  the  law  of  self-jji-cserva- 
tion,'  and  the  care  we  are  to  take  of  our  families :  ive 
may  avoid  evil,  and  may  resist  it,  so  far  as  is  neces- 
sary to  our  own  security ;  but  we  must  not  render  cx'ii 
for  ex'il,  must  not  bear  a  giiid^e,  nor  a\cnge  our- 
selves, nor  stud\-  to  be  even  with  those  that  have 
treated  us  uiikindlv,  but  we  must  go  beyond  them  by 
forgiving  them,  Prov.  20.  22.-24.  29.-25.  21,  22. 
Rom.  12.  1".     The  law  of  retaliation  must  be  made 
consistent  with  the  law  of  love  :  nor,  if  any  have  in- 
jured us,  is  our  recompense  in  our  own  hands,  but  in 
the  hands  of  God,  to  whose  wrath  we  must  give 
place ;  and  sometimes  in  the  hands  of  his  vicegerents, 
where  it  is  necessai-y  for  the  presenation  of  the  pub- 
lic peace :  but  it  will  not  justify  us  in  hulling  our 
brother,  to  sav  that  he  began,  for  it  is  the  second 
blow  that  makes  the  quaiTel ;  and  when  we  were 
injured,  we  had  an  opportunity  not  to  justify  our  in- 
juring him,  but  to  show  ourselves  the  tme  disciples 
of  Christ,  bv  forgi\-ing  him. 

Three  things  our  Saviour  instances,  to  show  that 
christians  must  patiently  yield  to  those  who  bear 
hard  upon  them,  rathe'r  than  contend;  and  these 
include  others. 

(1.)  A  blow  on  the  cheek,  which  is  an  injuiy  to  me 
in  mv  body ;  "  Whosoever  shall  smite  thee  on  thy 
right  eheei,  which  is  not  only  a  hurt,  but  an  affront 
and  indignity,  (2  Cor.  11.  20.)  if  a  man  in  anger  or 
scorn  thus  abuse  thee,  turn  to  him  the  other  check ;" 
that  is,  instead  of  avenging  that  injuiy,  prejiare  for 
another,  and  bear  it  patiently :  give  not  the  rade 
man  as  good  as  he  brings ;  do  riot  challenge  him,  nor 
enter  an  action  against  him  ;  if  it  be  necessaiy  to  the 
public  peace  that  he  be  bound  to  his  good  behaviour, 
leave  that  to  the  magistrate  ;  but  for  thy  own  part, 
it  will  ordinarily  be  the  wisest  course  to  pass  it  by, 
and  take  no  further  notice  of  it :  there  are  no  bones 
broken,  no  great  harm  done,  forgive  it,  and  forget  it ; 
and  if  proud  fools  think  the  worse  of  thee,  and  laugh 
at  thee  for  it,  all  wise  men  will  value  and  honour 
thee  for  it,  as  a  follower  of  the  blessed  Jesus,  who, 
though  he  was  the  Judge  of  Israel,  did  not  smite 
those  who  smote  him  on  the  cheek,  Micah  5._  1. 
1  Though  this  may  perhaps,  with  some  base  spirits. 


60 


ST.  MATTHEW.  \. 


expose  us  to  the  like  affront  another  time,  and  so  it 
is,  in  elFect,  to  turn  the  other  cheek,  yet  let  not  that 
disturb  us,  but  let  us  trust  God  and  his  providence 
to  protect  us  in  the  way  of  our  duty.  Perhaps,  the 
forgiving  of  one  injury  may  prevent  another,  when  the 
avenging  of  it  would  but  draw  on  another ;  some  will 
be  overcome  by  submission,  who  by  resistance  would 
but  be  the  more  exasperated,  Prov.  25.  22.  How- 
ever, our  recompense  is  in  Christ's  hands,  who  will 
reward  us  with  eternal  glory  for  the  shame  we  thus 
patiently  endure  ;  and  though  it  be  not  directly  in- 
flicted, if  it  be  quietly  bom  for  conscience  sake,  and 
in  conformity  to  Christ's  example,  it  shall  be  put 
upon  the  score  of  suffering  for  Christ. 

(2.)  The  loss  of  a  coat,  which  is  a  wrong  to  me  in 
my  estate  ;  (v.  40.)  If  any  man  will  sue  thee  at  the 
law,  and  take  away  thy  coat;  It  is  a  hard  case.  Note, 
It  is  common  for  legal  processes  to  be  made  use  of  for 
the  doing  of  the  greatest  injuries.  Though  Judges 
be  just  and  circumspect,  yet  it  is  possible  for  bad 
men,  who  make  no  conscience  of  oaths  and  forgeries, 
by  course  of  law  to  force  off  the  coat  from  a  man's 
back.  Marvel  not  at  the  matter,  (Eccl.  5.  8.)  but, 
in  such  a  case,  rather  than  go  to  law  by  way  of  re- 
venge, rather  than  exhibit  a  cross  bill,  or  stand  out 
to  the  utmost,  in  defence  of  that  which  is  thy  undoubt- 
ed right,  let  him  even  take  thy  cloak  also.  If  the 
matter  be  small,  which  we  mav  lose  without  anv 
considerable  damage  to  our  families,  it  is  good  to 
submit  to  it  for  peace  sake.  "  It  will  not  cost  thee 
so  much  to  buy  another  cloak,  as  it  will  cost  thee  by 
course  of  law  to  recover  that;  and  therefore  unless 
thou  canst  get  it  again  by  fair  means,  it  is  better  to 
let  him  take  it. " 

(3.)  The  going  a  mile  by  constraint,  which  is  a 
wrong  to  me  in  my  liberty ;  (v.  41.)  "  JThosoever 
shall  compel  thee  to  go  a  mile,  to  run  of  an  errand  for 
him,  or  to  wait  upon  him,  grudge  not  at  it,  but  go 
with  him  two  miles  rather  than  fall  out  with  him  : 
say  not,  "  I  would  do  it,  if  I  were  not  compelled  to 
it,  but  I  hate  to  be  forced ;"  rather  sav,  "  There- 
fore I  will  do  it,  for  otherwise  there  will  be  a  quar- 
rel ;"  and  it  is  better  to  serve  him,  than  to  serve 
thy  own  lusts  of  pride  and  revenge.  Some  give  this 
sense  of  it :  The  Jews  taught  that  the  disciples  of 
the  wise,  and  the  students  of  the  law,  were  not  to 
be  pressed,  as  others  might,  by  the  king's  officers, 
to  travel  upon  the  public  service  ;  but  Christ  will  not 
have  his  disciples  to  insist  upon  this  privilege,  but  to 
comply  rather  than  offend  the  government.  The 
sum  of  all  is,  that  christians  must  not  be  litigious  ; 
small  injuries  must  be  submitted  to,  and  no  notice 
taken  of  them  ;  and  if  the  injuiy  be  such  as  requires 
us  to  seek  reparation,  it  must  be  for  a  good  end,  and 
without  thought  of  revenge  :  though  we  must  not  in- 
vite injuries,  yet  we  must  meet  them  cheerfully  in 
the  way  of  duty,  and  make  the  best  of  them.  If  any 
say.  Flesh  and  blood  cannot  pass  by  such  an  affront, 
let  them  remember,  that  flesh  and  blood  shall  not 
inherit  the  kingdom  of  God. 

2.  We  must  be  charitable  and  beneficent ;  {v.  42.) 
must  not  only  do  no  hurt  to  our  neighbours,  but  la- 
bour to  do  them  all  the  good  we  can.  (1.)  \'\'e  must 
be  ready  to  give  ;  "  Gix'e  to  him  that  asketh  thee.  If 
thou  hast  an  ability,  look  upon  the  request  of  the 
poor,  as  gi\'ing  thee  an  opportunity  for  the  duty  of 
almsgiving. "  When  a  real  object  of  charity  presents 
itself,  we  should  give  at  the  first  word  :  Give  a  fior- 
tion  to  se-ven,  and  also  to  eight ;  yet  the  affairs  of  our 
charity  ■mwsX  he  guided  with  discretion,  (Ps.  112.  5.) 
lest  we  give  that  to  the  idle  and  unworthy,  which 
should  be  given  to  those  that  are  necessitous,  and 
deserve  well.  What  God  says  to  us,  we  should  be 
ready  to  say  to  our  poor  brethren,  Jsk,  and  it  shall 
be  grven  you.  (2.)  We  must  be  ready  to  lend.  This 
is  sometimes  as  great  a  piece  of  charity  as  gi\-ing ; 
as  it  not  only  relieves  the  present  exigence,  but  ob- 


liges the  boiTower  to  providence,  industry,  and  ho 
nesty ;  and  therefore,  "  From  him  that  would  borrow 
of  thee  something  to  live  on,  or  something  to  trade  on, 
turn  not  thou  away:  shun  not  those  that  thou  know- 
est  have  such  a  request  to  make  to  thee,  nor  contrive 
excuses  to  shake  them  off.  Be  easy  of  access  to  him 
that  would  borrow:  though  he  be  bashful,  and  have 
not  confidence  to  make  known  his  case  and  beg  the 
favour,  yet  thou  knowest  both  his  need  and  his  desire, 
and  therefore  offer  him  the  kindness."  Exorabor 
antequam  rogor  ;  honestis  precibus  occurram — I  will 
be  firei'ailed  on  before  lam  entreated  ;  I  will  antici- 
pate the  becoming  petition.  Seneca,  Z)e  Vita  beata. 
It  becomes  us  to  be  thus  forward  in  acts  of  kindness, 
for  before  we  call,  God  hears  us,  and  prevents  -us 
with  the  blessings  of  his  goodness. 

43.  Ye  have  heard  that  it  hath  been  said, 
Thou  shalt  love  thy  neighbour,  and  hate 
thine  enemy :  44.  But  I  say  unto  j'ou.  Love 
your  enemies,  bless  them  that  curse  you, 
do  good  to  them  that  hate  you,  and  pray 
for  them  which  despitefully  use  you  and 
persecute  you :  45.  That  ye  may  be  the 
children  of  30ur  Father  which  is  in  heaven : 
for  he  makelh  liis  sun  to  rise  on  the  evil 
and  on  the  good,  and  sendeth  rain  on  the 
just  and  on  the  unjust.  46.  For  if  ye  love 
them  which  love  3'ou,  what  re\^ard  have 
ye  ?  Do  not  even  the  publicans  the  same  ? 
47.  And  if  ye  salute  your  brethren  only, 
what  do  ye  more  than  others  ?  Do  not 
even  the  publicans  so  ?  48.  Be  ye  there- 
fore perfect,  even  as  your  Father  which  is 
in  heaven  is  perfect. 

We  have  here,  lastly,  an  ex'insition  of  that  great 
fundamental  law  of  the  secontl  tL.b'.e,  Thou  shalt  love 
thy  neighbour,  which  was  the  tulfiUing  of  the  law. 

I.  See  here  how  this  law  was  con-upted  by  the 
comments  of  the  Jewish  teachers,  t.  43.  God  said, 
Tliou  shalt  love  thy  neighbour ;  and  by  neighbour 
they  understood  those  only  of  their  own  country, 
nation,  and  religion  ;  and  those  only  that  \\\ey_  were 
pleased  to  look  upon  as  their  friends ;  yet  this  was 
not  the  worst ;  from  this  command.  Thou  shalt  love 
tliy  neighbour,  they  were  willing  to  infer  what  God 
never  designed.  Thou  shalt  hate  thine  enemy;  and 
thev  looked  upon  whom  they  pleased  as  their  ene- 
mies, thus  making  void  the  gi-eat  command  of  God 
by  their  traditions,  though  there  were  express  laws 
to  the  contrar)',  Exod.  23.  4,  5.  Dcut  23.  7.  Thou 
shalt  not  abhor  an  Edomite  nor  an  Egy/itian,  though 
these  nations  had  been  as  much  enemies  to  Israel  as 
any  whatsoever.  It  was  true,  God  appointed  them 
to  destroy  the  seven  devoted  nations  of  Canaan,  and 
not  to  make  leagues  with  them  ;  but  there  was  a  par 
ticular  reason  for  it — to  make  room  for  Israel,  anc 
that  they  might  not  be  snares  to  them  ;  but  it  was 
very  ill-natured  from  hence  to  infer,  that  they  must 
hate  all  their  enemies  ;  yet  the  moral  philosophy  of 
the  heathen  allowed  this.  It  is  Cicero's  nile,  A'e- 
mini  nocere  nisi  prius  lacessitum  injuria — To  injure 
no  one,  unless  previously  injured.  De  Offic.  See 
how  willing  corrupt  passions  are  to  fetch  counte- 
nance from  the  word  of  God,  and  to  take  occasion  by 
the  commandment  to  justify  themselves. 

II.  See  how  it  is  cleared  by  the  command  of  the 
Lord  Jesus,  who  teaches  us  another  lesson  :  "  But  1 
say  unto  you,  I,  who  come  to  be  the  great  Peace- 
maker, the  general  Reconciler,  who  loved  you  when 
you  were  strangers  and  enemies,  I  say.  Love  your 
enemies,"  v.  44.  Though  men  are  ever  so  bad  them- 


ST.  MATTHEW.  V. 


61 


selves,  and  carry  it  ever  so  basely  towards  us,  yet 
that  docs  not  discharg;c  us  from  the  gi-eat  debt  we 
owe  them,  of  love  to  our  kind,  love  to  our  kin.  W'c 
cannot  but  find  oiu'selvcs  veiy  prone  to  wisli  tlie  luirt, 
or  at  least  \er)'  coldly  to  desu-c  the  \:;('0(\,  of  those 
t/iat  liatf  us,  and  have  been  abusive  to  us  ;  but  that 
which  is  at  the  bottom  hereof,  is  a  root  of  bitterness 
which  must  be  plucked  u]),  and  a  remnant  of  rornipt 
nature  which  grace  nnist  conquer.  Note,  It  is  the 
j^eat  duty  of  Christians  to  I'jvi-  their  enemies ;  we  | 
c;uinot  ha\  c  complacenc)-  in  one  that  is  openly  wick- 
ed and  ijrofane,  nor  put  a  confidence  in  one  that  we 
know  to  be  deceitful  ;  nor  are  we  to  lo\  c  all  alike  ;  [ 
but  we  must  \r<\.y  respect  to  the  human  nature,  and 
so  far  honour  all  men :  we  nuist  take  notice,  with 
pleasure,  of  that  even  in  our  enemies  which  is  amia- 
ble and  commendable ;  ini^enuity,  good  temper, 
learning,  moral  virtue,  kindness  to  others,  profession 
of  religion,  &c.  and  love  that,  thovigh  they  are  our 
enemies.  W'c  m\ist  have  a  coni])assion  for  them,  and 
a  good  will  toward  them.     \\'e  arc  here  told,  I 

1.  That  we  must  sfieak  well  of  them  :  Blef:s  them 
that  curse  you.  When  we  speak  to  them,  we  must 
answer  their  revilings  ivith  courteous  and  friendly 
words,  and  not  render  railing  for  railing ;  behind 
their  backs  we  must  commend  that  in  them  which 
is  commendable,  and  when  we  ha\c  said  all  the  good 
we  can  of  them,  not  be  forward  to  say  any  thing 
more.  See  1  Pet.  3.  9.  They,  in  whose  tongues  is 
the  /«:;'  of  ).'iridness,  c:m  give  good  words  to  those 
who  give  bad  words  to  them. 

2.  That  we  must  do  well  to  them.  "  Do  good  to 
them  that  hate  you,  and  that  will  be  a  better  proof 
of  love  than  good  words.  Be  ready  to  do  them  all 
the  real  kindness  that  you  can,  and  glad  of  an  oppor- 
tunity to  do  it,  in  their  bodies,  estates,  names,  fami- 
lies ;  and  especially  to  do  good  to  their  souls."  It  was 
said  of  Archbishop  Cranmer,  that  the  way  to  make 
him  a  friend  was  to  do  him  an  ill  turn  ;  so  many  did 
he  serve  who  had  disobliged  him. 

3.  We  must  /tray  for  them  ;  /irayfor  them  that  I 
desfiilefully  use  you,  and  /lersecnte  vou.  Note,  (1.) 
It  is  no  new  thing  for  the  most  excellent  saints  to  be 
hated,  and  cursed,  and  persecuted,  and  despitefully 
used,  by  wicked  people  ;  Christ  himself  was  so  treat- 
ed. (2. )  That  when  at  any  time  we  meet  with  such 
usage,  we  have  an  opportunity  of  showing  our  con- 
formity both  to  the  precept  aiid  to  the  example  of 
Christ,  by  prav-ing  for  them  who  thus  abuse  us.  If 
we  cannot  otherwise  testifv  our  love  to  them,  yet 
this  way  we  may  without  ostentation,  and  it  is  such 
a  way  as  surely  we  durst  not  dissemble  in.  We  must 
pray  that  God  will  forgive  them,  that  they  may  ne- 
ver fare  the  worse  for  any  thing  thev  have  done 
against  us,  and  that  he  would  make  tlieni  to  be  at 
peace  with  us  ;  and  this  is  one  way  of  making  them 
so.  I'lutarch,  in  his  Laconic  A]ioi)hthcgrns,  has 
this  of  Aristo  ;  when  one  commended  Cleomencs's 
sapng,  who,  being  asked  r.'hat  a  good  kmg  should 
do,  replied,  Toii?  fxii  ^/xnr  ('jtfyiriTt,  Tiic  Js  e;^Sf»t 
xixJc  V'.iih — Good  turns  to  his  friends,  and  evil  to 
his  enetnies  ;  he  said,  How  much  better  is  it  -rutit  /xh 

<fi\at  t'jefyiTUi,  Tii't  Jii^ip«t  ^ihat: -rutir — tO  do  gOOd 

to  our  friends,  and  make  friends  of  our  enemies.  This 
is  heaping  coals  of/ire  on  their  head. 

Two  reasons  are  here  given  to  enforce  this  com- 
mand (which  sounds  so  harsh)  oi loving  our  enanies. 
Wn  must  do  it, 

[1.]  Thaiwemayhe  lUe  Godour  father;  "that 
ye  may  be,  may  approve  yourselves  to  lie,  the  chil- 
dren of  your  Father  '.vhich  is  in  heaven."  Can  we 
■write  after  abetter  copy  '  It  is  a  copy  in  which  love 
tothe  %vorst  of  enemies'  is  reconciled' to,  and  consis- 
tent with,  infinite  purity  and  holiness.  God  maketh 
his  sun  t-o  rise,  and  sendeth  rain,  on  the  just  and  tm- 

{ust,  V.  45.    Note,  J-'irst,  Sunshine  and  rain  are  great 
ilessings  to  the  world,  and  they  come  from  God.    It 


is  his  sun  that  shines,  and  the  rain  is  sent  by  him. 
They  do  not  come  of  course,  or  by  chance,  but  from 
God.     Secondly,  Common  mercies  nmst  be  valued 
as  instances  and  proofs  of  the  goodness  of  (Jod,  who 
in  them  shows  Inmself  a  bountiful  benefactor  to  the 
woild  of  mankind,  who  would  be  very  miserable 
without  these  favours,  and  are  utterl)-  unworthy  of 
the  least  of  them.      Thirdly,  These  gifts  (jf  common 
pro\  idence  are  dispensed  indiflferently  to  good  and 
ex'il,just  and  unjust ;  so  that  we  cannot  know  love 
3.nt\  hatred  h\  what  \^  before  us,  but  by  what  Kivith- 
in  us;  not  by  the  shining  of  the  siu\  on  our  heads,  but 
by  the  rising  of  the  sun  of  righteousness  in  our  hearts. 
J<'ourthli/,  'I'he  worst  of  men  partake  of  the  comforts 
rtf  this  lite  in  conmion  with  others,  though  they  abuse 
them,  and  fi.ght  aijainstGod  with  his  own  weajjons; 
which  is  an  amazmg  instance  of  God's  ijaticncc  and 
bounty.     It  was  but  once  that  (jod  forbade  his  sun 
to  shine  on  the  Egyptians,  when  the  Israelites  had 
light  in  their  direllings  ;  Clod  could  make  such  a  dis- 
tinction e\eiy  da}-.      Fifthly,  The  gifts  of  God's 
bounty  to  wicked  'n\cn  that  are  in  rebellion  against 
him,  teach  us  to  do  good  to  those  that  hate  us ;  espe- 
cially considering,  that  though  there  is  in  us  a  carnal 
mind  which  is  enmity  to  God,  yet  we  share  in  his 
bounty.     Sixthly,  Those  only  will  be  accepted  as 
the  children  of  God,  who  study  to  resemble  him, 
particularly  in  his  goodness. 

[2.]  That  we  may  herein  do  more  than  others,  v. 
46,  47.    First,  Publicans  love  their  friends.    Nature 
inclines  them  to  it  ;  interest  directs  them  to  it.    To 
do  good  to  them  who  do  good  to  us,  is  a  common 
piece  of  humanit)-,  which  even  those  whom  the  Jews 
hated  and  despised  could  give  as  good  proofs  of  as 
the  best  of  them.     The  Publicans  were  men  of  no 
good  fame,  yet  thev  were  gi-ateful  to  such  as  had 
helped  them  to  their  places,  and  courteous  to  those 
they  had  a  dependence  u]5on  ;  and  shall  we  be  no 
better  than  they  .'  In  doing  this  we  sei-ve  ourselves 
and  consult  our  own  advantage  ;  and  what  rew  ard 
can  we  expect  for  that,  unless  a  regard  to  Gcd,  and 
a  sense  of  duty,  carry  us  further  than  cur  natural  in- 
clination and  worldly  interest  ?  Secondly,  We  must 
therefore  lo\e  cur  enemies,  that  we  may  exceed 
them.    If  we  must  go  beyond  Scribes  and  Pharisees, 
much  more  beyond  Publicans.     Note,  Christianity 
is  something  more  than  humanity.     It  is  a  serious 
question,  and  which  we  should  freqviently  put  to 
ourselves,   "  Jl'hat  do  ii-e  more  than  others?   ll'hat 
excelling  thing  do  we  do  ?  We  knoiv  mere  than  oth- 
ers ;  we  talk  more  of  the  things  of  God  than  others  ; 
we  profess,  and  have  promised,  more  than  others ; 
God  has  done  more  for  us,  and  therefore  justly  ex- 
pects more  from  us  than  from  others  ;  the  gloiy  of 
God   is  more  concei'ned  in  us  than  in  others ;  but 
r.'hat  do  ive  more  than  others?  ^^'herein  do  wc  live 
above  the  rate  of  the  children  of  this  world  ?   ..ire 
ii<e  not  carnal,  and  do  we  not  walk  as  men,  belcw 
the  character  of  christians  ?  In  this  especially  we 
must  do  more  than  othei-s,  that  while  every  one  will 
render  ,!;'oorf  for  good,  we  must  render  .^'oorf  for  ri'//; 
and  this  will  speak  a  nobler  principle,  and  is  conso- 
nant to  a  higher  rule,  than  the  most  of  men  act  by. 
Others  salute  their  brethren,  the>'  embrace  those  of 
their  own  part\',  and   way,  and  opinion  ;  but  we 
must  not  so  confine  our  respect,  but  love  our  nie- 
mies,  otherwise  nvhat  reivard  have  ive  ?  We  cannot 
expect  the  reward  of  christians,  if  we  rise  no  higher 
than  the  virtue  of  Publicans."     Note,  They  who 
promise  themselves  a  reward  above  others,  must 
study  to  do  more  than  others. 

I.asthi,  Our  Saviour  concludes  this  subject  with 
this  exhortation,  {v.  48.)  Be  ye  therefore  perfect,  as 
vour  Father  irhich  is  in  heave?!  is  perfect.  W  hich 
may  be  understood,  1.  In  gcnei-al,  including  all  those 
things  wherein  we  must  he  follou-ers  of  God  as  dear 
children.   Note,  It  is  the  duty  of  christians  to  desire. 


62 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


and  aim  at,  and  press  towards,  a  perfection  in  sp-ace 
and  holiness,  Phil.  3.  12 — 14.  And  therein  we  must 
study  to  conform  ourselves  to  the  example  of  our 
heavenly  Father,  1  Pet.  1.  15,  16.  Or,  2.  In  this 
paiticular  before  mentioned,  of  doing  good  to  our 
enemies  ;  see  Liike  6.  3(5.  It  is  God's  perfection  to 
forgive  injuries  and  to  entertain  strangers,  and  to  do 
good  to  the  evil  and  unthankful,  and  it  will  be  ours 
to  be  like  him.  VVe  that  owe  so  much,  that  owe  our 
ail,  to  the  divine  bountv.  might  to  copy  it  out  as  well 
js  we  can.  r 

CHAP.  VI. 

Christ  having,  in  t!ie  former  chapter,  armed  his  disciples 
against  the  corrupt  doctrines  and  opinions  of  the  Scribes 
and  Pliarisees,  especially  in  their  expositions  of  the  law, 
(that  was  called  their  leaven,  ch.  16.  12.)  comes  in  tliis 
chapter  to  warn  them  against  tiieir  corrupt  practices  ; 
against  the  two  sins,  which,  though  in  their  doctrine  they 
did  not  justify,  yet  in  tlieir  conversation  they  were  notori- 
ously guilty  of,  hypocrisy  and  worldly-niindedness  ;  sins 
which,  of  all  others,  the  professors  of  religion  need  most  to 
euard  against,  as  sins  that  most  easily  beset  those  who 
have  escaped  the  grosser  pollutions  that  are  in  the  world 
through  lust,  and  which  are  therefore  highly  dangerous. 
We  are  here  cautioned,  I.  Against  hypocrisy  ;  we  must  not 
be  as  the  hypocrites  are,  nor  do  as  the  hypocrites  do.  1. 
In  giving  of  alms,  v.  1  ..  4.  2.  In  prayer,  v.  5 . .  8.  We  are 
here  taught  wiiat  to  pray  for,  and  how  to  pray  ;  (v.  9  . .  13.) 
and  to  forgive  in  prayer,  v.  14,  15.  3.  In  fasting,  y.  16 .  .  18. 
II.  Against  worldly-mindedness.  1.  In  our  choice,  which 
is  the  destroying  sin  of  hypocrites,  V.  19  . .  24.  2.  In  our 
cares,  wliich  is  the  disquieting  sin  of  many  good  chris- 
tians, v.  25  .  .  34. 

I.  y I \\KE  heed  that  ye  do  not  your 
JL  ahns  before  men,  to  be  seen  of 
them:  otherwise  ye  have  no  reward  oi" 
your  Father  wliich  is  in  lieaven.  2.  There- 
fore when  thou  doest  thine  alms,  do  not 
sound  a  trumpet  before  thee,  as  the  hypo- 
crites do  in  the  synagogues  and  in  the 
streets,  that  they  may  have  gloiy  of  men. 
Verily  I  say  unto  you,  they  have  their  re- 
ward. 3.  But  when  thou  doest  alms,  let 
not  thy  left  hand  know  what  thy  right 
hand  doeth :  4.  That  thine  alms  may  be 
in  secret :  and  tliy  father,  which  seeth  in 
secret,  himself  shall  reward  thee  openly. 

As  we  must  do  better  than  the  Scribes  and  Phari- 
sees in  avoiding  heart-sins,  heart-adultery  and  heart- 
murder,  so  likewise  in  maintaining  and  keeping  up 
heait  i-eligion,  doing  what  we  do  from  an  inward, 
vital  principle,  that  we  may  be  approved  of  God, 
not  that  we  may  be  applauded  of  men  ;  that  is,  we 
must  watch  against  hypocrisy,  which  was  the  leaven 
of  the  Pharisees,  as  well  as  against  their  doctrine, 
Luke  12.  1.  yllms-giving,  firayer,  and  fasting,  are 
three  great  christian  duties — ^the  three  foundations 
of  the  law,  say  the  .\rabians  :  by  them  we  do  hom- 
age and  serv  ce  to  God  with  our  three  principal  in- 
terests ;  by  prayer  with  our  souls,  by  fasting  with 
our  bodies,  by  alms-gii'ing  with  our  estates.  Thus 
we  must  riot  only  depart  from  evil,  but  do  good,  and 
do  it  wel',  and  so  dwell  for  ei'ermore. 

Now  in  these  verses  we  are  cautioned  against  hy- 
pocrisy in  giving  alms.  Talce  heed  of  it  Our  being 
bid  to  take  heed  of  it,  intimates  that  it  is  a  sin,  1.  We 
are  in  great  danger  of;  it  is  a  subtle  sin  ;  vain- 
glory insinuates  itself  into  what  we  do  ere  we  are 
aware.  The  disciples  would  be  tempted  to  it  by 
the  power  they  had  to  do  many  wondrous  works, 
and  their  living  with  some  that  admired  them  and 
others  that  despised  them,  both  which  are  tempta- 
tions to  covet  to  make  a  fair  show  in  the  flesh.  2. 
It  is  a  sin  we  are  in  great  danger  by.    Take  heed  of 


hypocrisy,  for  if  it  reign  in  you,  it  will  ruin  you.     It 
is' the  dead  fly  that  spoils  the  whole  box  of  precious 
ointment. 
Two  things  are  here  supposed. 

I.  The  grving  of  ahns  is  a  great  duty,  and  a  duty 
which  all  the  disciples  of  Christ,  according  to  their 
abilit)-,  must  abound  in.  It  is  prescribed  by  the  law 
of  nature  and  of  Moses,  and  gi-eat  stress  is  laid  upon 
it  bv  the  prophets.  Divers  ancient  copies  here  foi 
Ti'ii'  lAsiiy.&fl'^'i'iJV — yoitr  ahns,  read  tj>  tT/jcaf&c-t-'vJiv— 
your  righteousness,  for  alms  are  righteousness,  Ps. 
112.  9.  Prov.  10.  2.  The  Jews  called  the  poor's 
box,  the  box  of  righteousness.  That  which  is  given 
to  the  poor  is  said  to  be  their  due,  Prov.  3.  27.  The 
duty  is  not  the  less  necessary  and  excellent  for  its 
being  abused  by  h^-pocrites  to  seiwe  their  pride.  If 
superstitious  Papists  have  placed  a  merit  in  works 
of  charity,  that  will  not  be  an  excuse  for  covetous 
Protestants  that  are  barren  in  such  good  works.  It 
is  true,  our  alms-deeds  do  not  deseiwe  heaven  ;  but 
it  is  as  tnie  that  we  cannot  go  to  heaven  without 
them.  It  IS  pure  religion,  (Jam.  1.  27.)  and  will  be 
the  test  at  the  great  (Jay  ;  Christ  here  takes  it  for 
gi'anted  that  his  disciples  give  alms,  nor  wiU  he  own 
those  that  do  not. 

II.  That  it  is  such  a  duty  as  has  a  great  reward 
attending  it,  which  is  lost  it  it  be  done  in  hypocrisy. 
It  is  sometimes  rewarded  in  temporal  things  with 
plenty;  (Prov.  11.  24,  25. — 19.  17.)  security  fro-m 
mint;  (Prov.  28.  27.  Ps.  37.  21,  25.) succour  in  dis- 
tress ;  (Ps.  41.  1,  2.)  honour  and  a  good  name, 
which  follow  those  most  that  least  covet  them,  Ps. 
112.  9.  However,  it  shall  be  recompensed  in  the 
resurrection  of  the  just,  (Luke  14.  14. )  in  eternal 
riches. 

Quas  dederis,  solas  semper  habebis,  opes. 

The  riches  you  impart  form  the  only  nvealth  you 
tvill  akvays  retain. — Martial. 

This  being  supposed,  obsen-e  now, 

1.  ^^'hat  was  the  practice  of  the  hypocrites  about 
this  duty.  They  did  it  indeed,  but  not  from  any 
principle  of  obedience  to  God,  or  love  to  man,  but  in 
pride  and  vain-glory  ;  not  in  compassion  to  the  poor, 
but  purely  for  ostentation,  that  they  might  be  ex- 
tolled for  good  men,  and  so  might  gain  an  interest  in 
the  esteem  of  the  people,  with  which  they  knew 
how  to  serve  their  own  turn,  and  to  get  a  great  deal 
more  than  thev  gave.  Pursuant  to  this  intention, 
thev  chose  to  give  their  alms  in  the  synagogues,  and 
in  the  streets,  where  there  was  the  greatest  concourse 
of  people  to  obser%e  them,  who  applauded  their  libe- 
rality because  they  shared  in  it,  but  were  so  igno- 
rant as  not  to  discern  their  abominable  pride.  Pro- 
bably thev  had  collections  for  the  poor  in  the  syna- 
gogues, and  the  common  beggars  haunted  the  streets 
:  and  highways,  and  iipon  these  public  occasions  they 
chose  to  give  their  alms.  Not  that  it  is  unlawful  to 
give  alms  Tc/jra  men  see  tis  ;  we  may  do  it,  we  must 
do  it,  but  not  that  men  ?nay  see  i/s  ;  we  should  rather 
choose  those  objects  of  charity  that  are  less  observed. 
The  hypocrites,  if  they  gave  alms  at  their  own 
houses,  sounded  a  trumpet,  under  pretence  of  call- 
ing the  poor  together  to  be  seiwed,  but  really  to 
proclaim  their  charity,  and  to  have  that  taken  no- 
tice of  and  made  the  subject  of  discourse. 

Now  the  doom  that  Christ  passes  upon  this  is  veiy 
observable  ;  Verily  I  say  unto  you,  they  have  their 
reward.  At  first  view  this  seems  a  promise — If 
they  have  their  reward  they  have  enough,  but  two 
words  in  it  make  it  a  threatening. 

(1.)  It  is  a  reward,  but  it  is  Mrir  reward  ;  not  the 
reward  which  God  promises  to  them  that  do  good, 
but  the  reward  which  they  promise  themselves,  and 
a  poor  reward  it  is  ;  they  did  it  to  be  seni  of  -men, 
and  thev  are  seen  of  men  ;  they  chose  their  own  de- 
lusi07is  with  which  they  cheated  themselves,  and 
they  shall  have  what  they  chose.   Carnal  professors 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


G3 


stipulate  with  God  for  prefcnncnt,  honour,  wealth, 
aiia  they  shall  have  their  bellies  filled  with  those 
things  ;  (Ps.  17.  14.)  hut  let  them  expect  no  nime  ; 
these  are  their  consolation,  (Luke  6.  24. )  theii'  good 
things,  (Luke  16.  25.)  and  they  shall  be  put  offwith 
these.  "  Didnt  not  thou  ai^rec  ".villi  me  for  a  /icnny  ? 
It  is  tlie  bargain  thou  art  likely  to  abide  by." 

(2. )  It  is  a  reward,  but  it  is  a  /irrseiit  g^im-di 
they  /icrt'e  it ;  and  tlicre  is  none  reserved  tor  tlieni 
in  the  future  state.  Thcv  now  have  all  that  they 
are  likely  to  have  from  Ciml  ;  they  have  their  re- 
ward here,  and  have  none  to  hope  for  hereafter. 
'.Ktt'.j^'ti  ti  /ui(r6iv.  It  signifies  a  reai/it  i>i  full. 
^Vlult  rewards  the  godly  ha\e  in  this  life  are  but  in 
part  of/myment;  there  is  more  behind,  much  more  ; 
but  hypocntes  have  their  all  in  this  world,  so  shall 
their  doom  be  ;  themselves  have  decided  it.  The 
world  is  but  for  firoxnuion  to  the  saints,  it  is  their 
spending  money ;  but  it  is  fiaij  to  hypocrites,  it  is 
their  portion. 

2.  U'hat  is  thefirecfpt  of  our  Lord  Jesus  about  it. 
V.  3,  4.  He  that  was  himself  such  an  example  of 
humility,  pressed  it  upon  his  disciples,  as  absolutely 
neccssaiT  to  the  acceptance  of  their  performances. 
"  Let  not  tliii  left  hand  knovj  what  thy  right  hand 
doeth  when  thou  givest  alms. "  Perhaps  it  alludes  to 
the  placing  of  the  Corban,  the  poor  man's  box,  or 
the  chest  into  which  thev  c;vst  their  free-will  offer- 
ings, 071  the  right  hand  of  the  passage  into  the  tem- 
ple ;  so  that  they  put  their  gifts  into  it  with  the  right 
hand.  Or  the  giv  ing  of  alms  with  the  right  hand, 
intimates  readiness  to  it  and  resolution  in  it ;  do  it 
dexterouslv,  not  awkwardly,  or  with  a  sinister  in- 
tention. 'I'he  right  hand  may  be  used  in  helping 
the  l^r,  lifting  them  up,  writing  for  them,  dressing 
their  sores,  and  other  ways  besides  giving  to  them  ; 
but  "  whatever  kindness  thv  right  hand  doeth  to  the 
poor,  let  Jiot  thy  left  hand  know  it :  conceal  it  as 
much  as  possible  ;  industriously  keep  it  private. 
Do  it  because  it  is  a  good  work,  not  because  it  will 
get  thee  a  good  name."  In  omnibus  factis,  re,  non 
teste,  moTeamur — In  all  our  actions,  nve  should  be 
influenced  by  a  regard  to  the  object,  not  to  the  ob- 
scn'er.  Cic.  dc  Fin.  It  is  intimated,  (1.)  That  we 
must  not  let  others  know  what  we  do  ;  no,  not  those 
that  stand  at  our  left  hand,  that  are  very  near  us. 
Instead  of  acquainting  them  with  it,  keep  it  from 
them  if  possible  ;  however,  appear  so  desirous  to 
keep  it  from  them,  as  that  in  civility  they  may  seem 
not  to  take  notice  of  it,  and  keep  it  to  themselves, 
and  let  it  go  no  further.  (2. )  That  we  must  not  ob- 
serve it  too  much  ourselves :  the  left  h;md  is  a  part 
of  ourselves ;  we  must  not  within  oursehes  take  no- 
tice too  much  of  the  good  we  do,  must  not  applaud 
and  admire  ourselves.  Self-conceit  and  self-com- 
placency, and  an  adoring  of  our  own  shadow,  are 
branches  of  pride,  as  dangerous  as  vain-glory  and 
ostentation  before  men.  Vv'e  find  those  had  their 
good  works  remembered  to  their  honour,  who  had 
themselves  forgotten  them  :  When  saw  we  thee  an 
hungred,  or  athirst  ? 

3.  A\'hat  is  the  firomiie  of  those  mho  are  thus  sin- 
cere_  and  humble  in  their  alms-giving.  Let  thine 
alms  be  in  secret,  and  then  thy  Father  which  sceth  in 
secret  will  observe  them.  Note,  ^^'hen  we  take 
least  notice  of  our  good  deeds  ourselves,  God  takes 
most  notice  of  them.  As  God  hears  the  wrongs  done 
to  us  when  we  do  not  hear  them,  (Ps.  38.  14,  15.)  so 
he  sees  the  good  done  by  us,  when  we  do  not  see  it. 
As  it  is  a  terror  to  liv^ccrites,  so  it  is  a  comfoit  to 
sincere  christians,  that  God  sees  in  secret.  But  this 
is  not  all ;  not  only  the  obscn-ation  and  praise,  but 
the  recomjjensc,  is  of  God,  himself  shall  re^vard  thee 
ofienly.  Tsote,  They  who  in  their  alms-giving  study 
to  approve  themselves  to  God,  only  turn  themsehes 
over  to  him  for  their  Paymaster.  The  hypocrite 
catches  at  the  shadow,  but  the  upright  man  makes 


sure  of  the  substance.  Obsci-ve  how  emphatically 
it  is  expressed  ;  himself  shall  reheard,  he  will  him- 
self be  the  Kewarder,  Heb.  11.  6.  Let  him  alone 
to  make  it  up  in  kind  or  kindness  ;  nay,  he  will  him 
self  be  the  Jieward,  (^Gen.  15.  1.)  thine  exceeding 
great  reward.  He  will  reward  thee  as  thy  I'ather. 
not  as  a  master  who  gives  his  servant  just  what  he 
earns  and  no  more,  but  as  a  father  who  gives  abun- 
dantly more,  and  without  stint,  to  his  son  that  serves 
him. '  Kay,  he  shall  reward  thee  o/ienly,  if  not  in 
the  present  day,  yet  in  the  great  day  ;  then  shall 
ex'enf  man  have  firaise  of  Cod,  open  praise,  thou 
shalt  be  confessed  Ai^brcmc/i.  If  the  work  be  not 
open,  the  reward  shall,  and  that  is  better. 

3.  And  wlion  tliou'praycst,  thou  slialt 
not  bo  as  tho  liypociitcs  arc :  for  they  love 
to  pray  slandins  in  tlie  synasopics  and  in 
the  corners  of  the  streets,  tluit  tliey  maybe 
seen  of  men.  Verily  I  say  unto  you,  they 
have  their  reward.  G.  But  thou,  when  thou 
praycst,  enter  into  thy  closet,  and  when 
tiiou  hast  simt  thy  door,  pray  to  thy  Fa- 
ther ^\■ilich  is  in  secret ;  and  thy  Father, 
which  seeth  in  secret,  shall  reward  tiiee 
openly.  7.  But  when  ye  pray,  use  not  vain 
repetitions,  as  the  heathen  do :  for  they 
think  that  they  shall  be  heard  for  tlicir 
much  speaking.  8.  Be  not  ye  therefore 
like  unto  them:  for  your  Father  knoweth 
what  things  ye  have  need  of,  before  ye  ask 
him. 

In  prayer  we  have  more  immediately  to  do  with 
God  than  in  giving  ahns,  and  therefore  are  \'et  more 
concerned  to  be  .sincere,  which  is  wliat  we  are  here 
directed  to.  When  thou  firayc.ft  ;  (t.  5.)  it  is  taken 
for  granted  that  all  the  disciples  of  Christ  firay.  As 
soon  as  ever  Paul  was  converted,  behold,  he prayeth. 
Vou  may  as  soon  find  a  living  man  that  does  not 
breathe,  as  a  li\  ing  christian  that  does  not  pray. 
For  this  shall  ex'ery  one  that  is  godly  pray.  If  pray- 
erless,  then  gi-aceless.  "  Now,  when  thou  prayest, 
thou  shalt  not  be  as  the  hypocrites  are,  nor  do  as  they 
do."  (y.  2.)  Note,  Those  who  would  not  do  as  the 
hypocrites  do  in  their  way  and  actions,  must  not  be 
as  the  hypocrites  are  in  their  frame  and  temper. 
He  names  nobody,  but  it  appears  by  ch.  23.  13.  that 
bv  the  hypocrites  here  he  means  especially  the 
Scribes  and  Pharisees. 

Kow  there  were  two  great  fiuilts  they  were  guilty 
'  f  in  praver,  against  each  of  which  we  are  here  cau- 
tioned— vain-glorv  ;  {v.  5,  6.)  and  vain  repetitions, 
T'.  7,  8.  ■ 

I.  ^^'e  must  not  be  proud  and  vain-glorious  in 
prayer,  nor  aim  at  the  praise  of  men.  And  here 
obsene, 

1.  \\'hat  was  the  ivcv  and  practice  of  the  hypo- 
crites. In  all  their  exercises  of  devotirn,  it  was  plain 
the  chief  thing  they  aimed  at  was  to  be  commended 
by  their  neighbours,  and  thereby  to  make  an  inter- 
est for  themselves.  \Mien  they'secmcd  to  soar  up- 
wards in  praver,  (and  if  it  be  right,  it  is  the  soul's 
ascent  toward  God,)  yet  even  then  their  eye  was 
downwards  upon  this  as  their  prey.     Observe, 

(1.)  \\"hat  the  places  were  which  they  chose  for 
their  devotion  ;  they  prayed  in  the  synagogues,  which 
were  indeed  proper  places  for  public  prayer,  but  not 
for  personal.  They  pretended  hereby  to  do  honour 
to  the  place  of  their  assemblies,  but  iiitended  to  do 
honour  to  themsehes.  They  prayed  in  the  corners 
of  the  streets,  the  broad  sti-eets,  (so  the  word  signi- 
fies,) which  were  most  frequented.  They  ivithdrew 


64 


bT.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


thitl"  er,  as  if  tViey  were  under  a  pious  impulse  which 
would  not  admit  dckiv,  but  really  it  was  to  make 
themselves  to  be  taken  notice  ot.  There,  where 
two  streets  met,  they  were  not  only  within  view  of 
both,  but  every  passenger  turning  close  upon  them 
would  observe  them,  and  hear  what  they  said. 

(2.)  The  jiosture  they  used  in  prayer  ;  they  pray- 
ed stimding;  this  is  a  lawful  and  proper  posture  for 
prayer,  (iVlark  11.  25.  When  ye  stand  jiraying,') 
but'  kneeling  being  the  more  humble  and  re\erent 
gesture,  Luke  22.  '41.  Acts  7.  60.  Eph.  3.  14.  their 
standing  seemed  to  savour  of  pride  and  confidence 
in  themselves,  (Luke  18.  11.)  The  Pharisee  stood 
and  prayed. 

(3. )  'I'heir  firide  in  choosing  those  public  places, 
which  is  expressed  in  two  things  :  [1.]  They /off 
to  pray  there.  They  did  not  love  prayer  for  its  own 
sake,  but  they  loved  it  when  it  gave  them  an  oppor- 
tunity of  makmg  themselves  noticed.  Circumstances 
may  be  such,  that  our  good  deeds  must  needs  be 
done  openly,  so  as  to  fall  under  the  observation  of 
others,  and  be  commended  by  them  ;  but  the  sin  and 
danger  is  when  we  love  it,  and  are  pleased  with  it, 
because  it  feeds  the  proud  humour.  [2.]  It  is  that 
they  may  be  seen  of  men  ;  not  that  God  might  accept 
them,  but  that  men  might  admire  and  applaud 
them  ;  and  that  they  might  easily  get  the  estates  of 
widows  and  oi-phans  into  their  hands ;  (who  would 
not  trust  such  devout,  praying  men  i")  and  that,  when 
they  had  them,  they  might  devour  them  without 
being  suspected ;  {ch.  23.  14.)  and  effectually  cany 
on  their  public  designs  to  enslave  the  people. 

(4. )  The  firoduct  of  all  this,  they  have  their  re- 
ivard  ;  they  have  all  the  recompense  they  must  ever 
expect  from  God  for  their  service,  and  a  poor  re- 
compense it  is.  What  will  it  avail  us  to  have  the 
good  word  of  our  fellow-servants,  if  our  Master  do 
not  say,  IVell  done.  But  if  in  so  great  a  transaction 
as  is  between  us  and  God,  when  we  are  at  prayer, 
we  can  take  in  so  poor  a  consideration  as  the  praise 
of  men  is,  it  is  just  that  tliat  should  be  all  our  re- 
ward. They  did  it  to  be  seen  of  men,  and  thev  are 
so ;  and  much  good  may  it  do  them.  Note,  Those 
that  would  approve  themselves  to  God  by  their  in- 
tegrity in  their  religion,  must  have  no  regard  to  the 
praise  of  men ;  it  is  not  to  men  that  we  pray,  nor 
from  them  that  we  expect  an  answer  ;  they  are  not 
to  be  our  judges,  they  are  dust  and  ashes  like  our- 
selves, and  therefore  we  must  not  have  our  eye  to 
them  :  what  passes  between  God  and  our  own  souls 
must  be  out  of  sight.  In  our  synagogue-worship,  we 
must  avoid  every  thing  that  tends  to  make  our  per- 
sonal devotion  remarkable,  as  they  that  caused  tlieir 
■voice  to  be  heard  on  high,  Isa.  54.  8.  Public  places 
are  not  proper  for  private,  solemn  prayer. 

2.  What  is  the  nvill  of  Jesus  Christ  in  opposition 
to  this.  Humility  and  sincerity  are  tlie  two  gTeat 
lessons  that  Christ  teaches  us  ;  Thou,  tvhen  thou 
pray  est,  do  so  and  so  ;  (t'.  6.)  thou  in  particular  by 
thyself,  and  for  thyself.  Personal  prayer  is  here 
supposed  to  be  the  duty  and  practice  of  all  Christ's 
disciples.     Observe, 

(1.)  The  directions  here  given  about  it. 

[1.]  Instead  of  praying  in  the  synagogues  and  in 
the  corners  of  the  streets,  enter  into  thy  closet,  into 
some  place  of  privacy  and  retirement.  Isaac  went 
into  the  field,  (Gen.  24.  63.)  Christ  to  a  mountain, 
Peter  to  the  house-top.  No  place  amiss  in  point  of 
ceremony,  if  it  do  but  answer  the  end.  Note,  Se- 
cret prayer  is  to  be  performed  in  retirement,  that 
we  may  be  unobserved,  and  so  may  avoid  ostenta- 
tion ;  undisturbed,  and  so  may  avoid  distraction  ; 
unheard,  and  so  may  use  the  greater  freedom  ;  yet 
if  the  circumstances  be  such  that  we  cannot  possibly 
avoid  being  taken  notice  of,  we  m\ist  not  therefore 
neglect  the  duty,  lest  the  omission  be  a  greater  scan- 
dal than  the  observation  of  it. 


I      [2.  ]  Instead  of  doing  it  to  be  seen  of  mem,  firay  to 
\thy  Father  which  is  in  secret ;  to  me,  ex'en  to  me, 
I  Zech.  7.  5,  6.     l"he  Pharisees  prayed  rather  to  men 
;  than  to  God  ;  whatever  was  the  form  of  their  prayer, 
the  scope  of  it  was  to  beg  the  applause  of  men,'and 
!  court  their  favours.     "Well,  do  thou  i)ray  to  God, 
and  let  that  be  enough  for  thee.  Pray  to  him  as  a  Fa- 
ther,««i((f5j|y  Father,  ready  to  hear  and  answer,  gra- 
ciously inclined  to  pity,   help,    and  succour  thee. 
Pray  to  thy  Father 7:'/;/f/j  is  in  secret."    Note,  In 
secret  prayer  we  must  have  an  eye  to  God,  as  pre- 
I  sent  in  all  places ;  he  is  there  in  thy  closet  when ' 
no  one  else  is  there  ;  there  especially  nigh  to  thee  in 
j  what  thou  caltest  ii/ion  him  for.     ^y  secret  prayer 
j  we  give  God  the  glory  of  his  universal  presence, 
;  (Acts  \7.  24.)  and  may  take  to  ourselves  the  com- 
i  tort  of  it. 

(2.)  The  encouragements  here  given  us  to  it. 
[l.j  Thy  Father  seeth  in  secret ;  his  eye  is  upon 
thee  to  accept  thee,  when  the  eye  of  no  man  is  upon 
thee  to  applaud  thee  ;  under  the  Jig-tree  I  satv  thee, 
said  Christ  to  Nathaniel,  John  1.  48.  He  saw  PaW 
at  prayer  in  such  a  street,  at  such  a  house.  Acts  9. 
11.  There  is  not  a  secret,  sudden  breathing  after 
God,  but  he  obser\'es  it. 

[2.  ]  He  nvitl  reward  thee  openly  ;  they,  have  their 
reward  that  do  it  openly,  and  thou  shalt  not  lose 
thine  for  thy  doing  it  in  secret.  It  is  called  a  reward, 
but  it  is  of  grace,  not  of  debt ;  what  merit  can  there 
be  in  begging  ?  The  reward  will  be  open  ;  they  shall 
not  only  have  it,  but  have  it  honourably  :  the  open 
reward  is  that  which  hypocrites  are  fond  of,  but 
they  have  not  patience  to  stay  for  it ;  it  is  that  which 
the  sincere  are  dead  to,  and  they  shall  have  it  over 
and  abo\'e.  Sometimes  secret  prayers  are  rewarded 
openly  in  this  world  by  signal  answers  to  them, 
which  manifest  God's  praying  people  in  the  con- 
sciences of  their  adversaries  ;  however,  at  the  great 
day  there  will  be  an  open  reward,  when  all  pi-aying 
people  shall  afi/iear  in  glory  with  the  gi'cat  Inter- 
cessor. The  Pharisees  had  their  reward  before  all 
the  town,  and  it  was  a  mere  flash  and  shadow ;  true 
christians  shall  have  theirs  before  all  the  world, 
angels  and  men,  and  it  shall  be  a  weight  of  glory. 

II.  We  must  not  use  vain  repetitions  in  prayer. 
1'.  7,  8.  Though  the  life  of  prayer  lies  in  lifting  vh 
the  soul  and  /louring  out  the  heart,  yet  there  is  some 
interest  which  words  have  in  prayer,  especially  in 
joint  prayer ;  for  in  that,  words  are  necessary,  and 
it  should  seem  that  our  Saviour  speaks  here  eipc- 
cially  of  that;  for  before  he  said,  when  thou  prayest, 
here,  when  ye  firay  ;  and  the  Lord's  prayer  which 
follows  is  a  joint  prayer,  and  in  that,  he  that  is  the 
mouth  of  others  is  most  tempted  to  an  ostentation  of 
language  and  expression,  against  which  we  are  here 
wanicd  ;  use  not  vain  refietitions,  either  alone  or 
with  others ;  the  Pharisees  affected  this,  t^cy  made 
long  firayer-s,  (ch.  22.  14.)  all  their  care  was  to  make 
them  long.     Now  observe, 

1.  W'hat  the  fault  is  that  is  here  reproved  and 
condemned  ;  it  is  making  a  mere  lip-labour  of  the 
duty  of  praver,  the  service  of  the  tongue,  when  it  is 
not  the  service  of  the  soul.  This  is  expressed  here 
by  two  words,  ;8aT7o\',j-/st,  viwxtylj..  (1.)  Vain  re- 
petitions. Taiitolog^-,  battoloRv,  idle  babbling  over 
the  same  words  again  and  again  to  no  pui-pcse,  like 
Battus,  sub  illis  montibus  erunt,  erant  sub  vumtibus 
illis  ;  like  that  imitation  of  the  wordiness  of  a  fool, 
Eccl.  10.  14.  ^  man  cannot  tell  what  shall  be; 
and  what  shall  be  after  him,  who  can  tell  ?  A'V'hich 
is  indecent  and  nauseous  in  any  discourse,  nuich 
more  in  speaking  to  God.  It  is  not  all  repetition  in 
praver  that  is  here  condemned,  but  vain  repetitions. 
Christ  himself  prayed,  saying  the  same  words,  (</;. 
26.  44,)  out  of  a  more  than  ordinarv  fervour  and 
zeal,  Luke  22.  44.  So  Daniel,  ch.  9.  18,  19.  And 
there  is  a  very  elegant  repetition  of  the  same  wo  -"s, 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


65 


Ps.  136.     It  may  be  of  use  both  to  express  our  own 
iffections,  and  to  excite  the  affertions  of  others. 
But  the  superstitions  reliearsing  of  a  talc  of  words, 
witliout  rei^ard  to  the  sense  of  tlicm,  as  tlie  papists' 
savinj;  h\'  their  beads  so  many  Ave- Marys  and  I'a- 
tciiiostcrs  ;  or  tlie  lian-en  and  dry  i;"'"S  over  of  the 
same  tilings  attain  and  again,  merely  to  drill  out  the 
jirayer  to  such  a  lenj^h,  and  to  make  a  show  of  affec- 
tion when  really  there  is  none  ;  these  are  the  vain 
i-epetitions  here  condemned.     When  we  would  fain 
sav  much,  but  caimot  say  much  to  the  ijui^jose  ;  this 
is  displeasing  to  Ciod  and  all  wise  men.     (_'.)  Much 
Kfieakiu!;,   and   affectation  of  prolixity   in  j)ra\er, 
either  out  of  pride,  or  superstition,  or  an  ojjinion  that 
(jod  needs  either  to  be  informed  or  argued  with  b)' 
us,  or  out  of  mere  folly  and  impertinence,  because 
men  lo\e  to  hear  thenmch'cs  talk.     Not  that  all  long 
pi'ayers  are  forbidden  ;    Christ  ])rayed  all  night, 
Lute  6.  12.     Solomon's  was  a  long  prayer.     There 
is  sometimes  need  of  long  prayers  when  our  errands 
and  our  affections  are  extraordinary  ;  but  mei-eh'  to 
prolong  the  i)rayer,  as  if  that  woiild  make  it  more 
pleasing  or  more  ])re\'ailing  with  (Jod,  is  that  which 
IS  here  condemned  ;  it  is  not  much  /iraying  that  is 
condemned ;  no,  we  arc  bid  to  /»■«!/  aki'aijs,  but 
much  s/if (iking- ;  the  danger  of  this  error  is  when  we 
only  say  our  jirayers,  not  when  we  /n-ay  them.  This 
caution  is  ex])lained  by  that  of  Solomon,  (F.ccl.  5.  2. ) 
Let  thy  '.vorda  hefe^u,  considerate  and  we'.l  wciglied  : 
take  ivith  you  ivords ;  (Hos.  14.  2.)  choose  outwards, 
(Job  9.  14.)  and  do  not  say  every  thing  that  comes 
uppermo.st. 
2.  WHiat  reasons  are  given  against  this. 
(1. )  This  is  the  way  of  the  heathen,  as  the  heathen 
do ;  and  it  ill  becomes  christians  to  worship  their 
God  as  the  (lentiles  worship  theirs.     The  heathen 
were  taught  by  the  light  of  nature  to  worship  God  ; ! 
but  becoming  vain  in  their  imaginations  concerning 
the  object  of  their  worship,  no  wonder  they  became 
so  concerning  the  manner  of  it,  and  particularly  in 
this  instance  ;  thinking  God  altogether  such  a  one  as 
themselves,  they  thought  he  needed  many  words  to 
make  him  underetand  what  was  said  to  him,  or  to 
bring  him  to  comply  with  their  requests ;  as  if  he 
were  weak  and  ignorant,  and  hard  to  be  entreated. 
Thus  Baal's  jiriests  were  hard  at  it  from  morning 
till  almost  night  with  their  vain  refietitions ;  O  Daul, 
hear  us  ;  0  Baal,  hear  us;  and  vain  repetitions  thev 
were  :  but  Elijah,  in  a  grave,  composed  frame,  with 
a  very  concise  jirayer,  prevailed  for  fire  from  heaven 
first,  and  then  water,  1  Kings  18.  26,  36.  IJIi-labour 
in  prayer,  though  ever  so  well  laboured,  if  that  be 
all,  is  but  tost  labour. 

(2. )  "  It  need  not  be  your  way,  for  your  leather  in 
hea\en  knoweth  nrhat  things  ye  have  need  of  before 
you  ask  him,  and  therefore  there  is  no  occasion  for 
such  abund  mce  of  words.  It  does  not  follow  that 
therefore  you  need  not  pray  ;  for  God  requires  vou  bv 
prayer  to  own  your  need  of  him  and  dependence  oil 
him,  and  to  plead  his  promises  ;  but  therefore  vou 
are  to  open  your  case,  and  pour  out  your  hearts  be- 
fore him,  and  then  leave  it  with  him."  Consider, 
[1.]  The  God  we  pray  to  is  our  Father  by  creation, 
bv  covenant;  and  therefore  our  addresses  to  him 
should  be  eas\',  natural,  ar.d  unaffected  ;  children  do 
not  use  to  make  long  si)eeches  to  their  parents  when 
they  w.ant  any  thing ;  it  is  enough  to  say,  7ny  head, 
my  head.  Let  us  come  to  him  with  the  disposition 
of  children,  with  love,  reverence,  and  dependence  ; 
and  then  they  need  not  say  many  words,  that  are 
taught  by  the  Spirit  of  adoption  to  sav  that  one 
aright,  Mba,  Father.  [2.]  He  is  a  Father  that 
knows  our  case  and  knows  our  wants  better  than  we 
do  ourselves.  He  knorcs  ii-hat  things  -.ve  have  need 
of;  his  eyes  run  to  and  fro  through  the  earth  to  ob- 
siene  the  neces-sities  of  his  people,  (2  Chron.  16.  9.) 
and  he  ofion  ^ves  before  we  call,  (Isa.  65.  24.)  and 

Vol.  v. — ^I 


more  than  top  ask  for,  (F.i)h.  3.  20.)  and  if  he  do  not 
give  his  people  what  they  ask,  it  is  because  he  knows 
they  do  not  need  it,  and  that  it  is  not  for  their  good ; 
and  of  that  he  is  fitter  to  judge  for  us  than  we  for 
ourselves.  We  need  ijot  be  long,  nor  use  many 
words  in  re])resenting  our  case  ;  (Jod  knows  it  better 
than  we  can  tell  him,  only  lie  will  know  \tfrom  us  ; 
(what  ivill  ye  that  I  should  do  unto  you  ? )  and 
when  we  hax  e  told  him  what  it  is,  we  must  refer 
ourselves  to  him.  Lord,  all  my  desire  is  hi  fore  rhre. 
Vs.  38.  9.  So  far  is  God  from  being  wrought  upon 
by  the  length  or  language  of  our  ])ra\irs,  tliat  the 
most  jjowerful  intercessions  arc  those  which  are 
made  with  groanings  that  cannot  be  uttered,  Kom. 
8.  26.  We  are  not  to/in  sci'ibe,  but  *«/«cribe  to 
CJod. 

9.  After  tills  manner  thcicfoio  prayyc: 
Our  Father  which  art  in  heaven,  Hallow- 
ed be  thy  name:  10.  Thy  kingdom  come: 
Thy  will  be  done  in  earth,  as  il  is  in  hea- 
ven :  11.  Give  iis  this  day  bur  daily  bread : 
12.  And  forgive  us  our  debts,  as  we  forgive 
our  debtors:  1.3.  And  lead  us  not  into 
temptation,  but  deliver  us  from  evil :  for 
thine  is  the  kingdom,  and  the  power,  and 
the  glory,  for  ever.  Amen.  14.  For  if  ye 
forgive  men  their  trespasses,  your  hea- 
venly Father  will  also  forgive  j^ou:  15. 
But  if  ye  forgive  not  men  their  tresjjasses, 
neither  will  your  Father  forgive  your  tres- 
passes. 

When  Christ  had  condemned  what  was  amiss,  he 
directs  to  do  better  ;  for  his  are  reproofs  of  instruc- 
tion. Because  we  know  not  wliat  to  ])ray  for  as  we 
ought,  he  here  helps  our  infinnities,  Ijy  putting 
words  into  our  mouths ;  after  this  manner  therefore 
firay  ye,  v.  9.  So  many  were  the  coniiptions  that 
had  crept  into  this  duty  of  pra\'er  among  the  Jews, 
that  Christ  saw  it  needful  to  gi\'e  a  new  directory 
for  prayer,  to  show  his  disciples  what  must  ordinari- 
ly be  the  matter  and  method  of  their  prayer,  which  he 
gives  in  words  that  may  ver)'  well  be  used  as  a  forni  ; 
as  the  sumniaiy  or  contents  of  the  several  particulars 
of  our  prayers.  Not  that  we  are  tied  up  to  the  use 
of  this  form  only,  or  of  this  always,  as  if  this  were 
necessaiy  to  the  consecrating  of  our  other  prayei-s ; 
we  are  here  bid  to  pray  after  this  manner,  with  these 
words,  or  to  this  effect.  That  in  Luke  differs  from 
this ;  we  do  not  find  it  used  by  the  apostles ;  we  are  not 
here  taught  to  pray  in  that  name  of  Christ,  as  we  are 
afterv/.-.rd  ;  we  ai-e  here  taught  to  pray  that  the  king- 
dom might  come  which  did  come  when  the  Spirit  was 
poured  out ;  yet,  without  doubt,  it  is  very  good  to  use 
it  as  a  form,  and  it  is  a  pledge  of  the  communion  of 
saints,  it  having  been  used  by  the  church  in  all  ages, 
at  least  (says  Dr.  WTiitby)  from  the  third  century. 
It  is  our  Lord's  prayer,  it  is  of  his  composing,  of  his 
appointing  ;  it  is  very  compendious,  yet  veiy  com- 
lirehensivc.  The  matter  is  choice  and  necessari,', 
the  method  instructi\e,  and  the  expression  ven' 
concise.  It  has  much  in  a  little,  and  it  is  requisite 
that  we  act]uaint  ourselves  with  the  sense  and  mean- 
ing of  it,  for  it  is  used  acceptably,  no  further  than  it  is 
usid  w  ith  understanding,  and  without  vain  repetition. 

The  Lord's  prayer  (us  indeed  every  prayer)  is  a 
letter  sent  from  earth  to  heaven.  Here  is  the  in- 
scription of  the  letter,  the  pei-son  to  whom  it  is  di- 
i-ected,  our  Lather;  the  place  where,  in  heavcv  ; 
the  contents  of  it  in  several  errands  of  request ;  the 
close, /or  thine  is  the  kingdom  ;  the  seal,  Amen ;  and 
if  you  will,  the  date  too,  this  day. 

T'lainly  thus  :  there  are  three  parts  of  the  prayer» 


66 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


I.  The  fireface.  Our  Father  nvhich  art  in  hecn<en. 
Before  we  come  to  our  business,  there  must  be  a 
solemn  address  to  him  with  whom  our  business  lies; 
Our  Father.  Intimating,  that  we  must  pray,  not 
only  alone  and  for  ourselves,  but  with  and  for  others ; 
for  we  are  members  one  of  another,  and  are  called 
into  fellowship  with  each  other.  We  are  here 
taught  to  whom  to  pray,  to  God  only,  and  not  to 
saints  and  angels,  for  they  are  ignorant  of  us,  are 
not  to  have  the  honours  we  give  in  prayer,  nor  can 
give  the  favours  we  e3a)ect.  ^^'e  are  taught  how  to 
address  ourselves  to  God,  and  what  title  to  give 
him,  that  which  speaks  him  rather  beneficent  than 
magnificent,  for  we  are  to  come  boldly  to  the  throne 
of  grace. 

1.  We  must  address  ourselves  to  him  as  our  Fa- 
ther, and  must  call  him  so.  He  is  a  common  Father 
to  all  mankind  by  creation,  Mai.  2.  10.  Acts  17.  28. 
He  is  in  a  special  manner  a  Father  to  the  saints,  by 
adoption  and  regeneration ;  (Eph.  1.  5.  Gal.  4.  6.) 
and  an  unspeakable  privilege  it  is.  Thus  we  must 
eye  him  in  prayer,  keep  up  good  thouijhts  of  him, 
such  as  are  encouraging  and  not  affrightmg ;  nothing 
more  pleasing  to  God,  or  pleasant  to  ourselves,  than 
to  call  God  Father.  Chnst  in  prayer  mostly  called 
God  Father.  If  he  be  our  Father,  he  will'  pity  us 
under  our  weaknesses  and  infirmities,  (Ps.  103.  13.) 
will  spare  us,  (Mai.  3.  17. )  will  make  the  best  of  our 
performances,  though  very  defective,  will  deny  us 
nothing  that  is  good  for  us,  Luke  11.  11 — 13.  We 
have  access  with  boldness  to  him,  as  to  a  father,  and 
have  an  advocate  ivith  the  Father,  and  the  Spirit  of 
adoption.  When  we  come  repenting  of  our  sins, 
we  must  eye  God  as  a  Father,  as  the  prodigal  did ; 
(Luke  15. '18.  Jer.  3.  19.)  when  we  come  begging 
for  grace,  and  peace,  and  the  inheritance  and  bless- 
ing of  sons,  it  is  an  encouragement  that  we  come  to 
God,  not  as  an  unreconciled,  avening  Judge,  but  as 
a  loving,  gi-acious,  reconciled  Father  in  Christ,  Jer. 
3.  4. 

2.  As  our  Father  in  heaven :  so  in  heaven  as  to 
be  every  where  else,  for  the  heaven  cannot  contain 
him  ;  yet  so  in  heaven  as  there  to  manifest  his  glory, 
for  it  'is  his  throne,  (Ps.  103.  19.)  and  it  is  to  be- 
lievers a  throne  of  grace  :  thitherward  we  must  di- 
rect our  prayers,  for  Christ  the  Mediator  is  now  in 
heaven,  He6.  8.  1.  Heaven  is  out  of  sight,  and  a 
world  of  spirits,  therefore  our  converse  with  God  in 
prayer  must  be  spiritual ;  it  is  on  high,  therefore  in 
prayer  we  must  be  raised  above  the  woi-ld,  and  lift 
up  our  hearts,  Ps.  5.  1.  Heaven  is  a  place  of  per- 
fect purity,  and  we  must  therefore  lift  up  pure 
hands,  must  study  to  sanctify  his  name,  who  is  the 
Holy  One,  and  dwells  in  that  holy  place.  Lev.  10.  3. 
From  heaven  God  beholds  the  children  of  men,  Ps. 
33.  13,  14.  And  we  mvist  in  prayer  see  his  eye  upon 
us  :  thence  he  has  a  full  and  clear  view  of  all  our 
wants  and  burdens  and  desires,  and  all  our  infirmi- 
ties. It  is  the  firmament  of  his  power  likewise,  as 
well  as  of  his  prospect,  Ps.  150.  1.  He  is  not  onlv, 
as  a  father,  willing  to  help  us,  but  as  a  heavenlv 
Father,  able  to  help  us,  able  to  do  gi-eat  things  for 
us,  more  than  we  can  ask  or  think  ;  he  has  where- 
with to  supply  our  needs,  for  everv  good  gift  is  fi'om 
above.  He  is  a  Father,  and  therefore  we  may  come 
to  him  with  boldness,  but  a  Father  in  heaven,  and 
therefore  we  must  come  with  reverence,  Eccl.  5.  2. 
Thus  all  our  prayers  should  correspond  with  that 
which  is  our  great  aim  as  christians,  and  that  is,  to 
be  with  God  in  heaven.  God  and  heaven,  the  end 
of  our  whole  conversation,  must  be  particularly 
eyed  in  every  prayer  ;  there  is  the  centre  to  which 
we  are  all  tending.  By  prayer  we  send  before  us 
thither,  where  we  profess  to  be  going. 

n.  The  petitions,  and  those  are  six  ;  the  three 
first  relating  more  immediately  to  God  and  his  ho- 
nour, the  three  last  to  our  own  concerns,  both  tem- 


poral and  spiritual ;  as  in  the  ten  commandments, 
the  four  first  teach  us  our  duty  toward  God,  and  the 
six  last  our  duty  towards  our  neighbour.  The  me 
thod  of  this  prayer  teaches  us  to  seek  first  the  king 
dom  of  God  and  his  righteousness,  and  then  to  hopp 
that  other  things  shall  be  added. 

1.  Hallowed  be  thy  name.  It  is  the  same  word 
that  in  other  places  is  translated  sanctified.  But 
here  the  old  word  hallowed  is  retained,  only  because 
people  were  used  to  it  in  the  Lord's  prayer.  In 
these  words,  (1.)  We  give  glory  to  God  ;  it  may  be 
taken  not  as  a  petition,  but  as  an  adoration  ;  as  that, 
the  Lord  be  magnified,  or  glorified,  for  God's  holi 
ness  is  the  greatness  and  glory  of  all  his  perfections. 
We  must  begin  our  prayers  with  praising  God,  and 
it  is  ver)'  fit  he  should  be  first  served,  and  that  we 
should  give  glory  to  God,  before  we  expect  to  re- 
ceive mercy  and  grace  from  him.  Let  him  have 
the  praise  of  his  perfections,  and  then  let  us  have 
the  benefit  of  them.  (2.)  We  fix  our  end,  and  it  is 
the  right  end  to  be  aimed  at,  and  ought  to  be  aur 
chief  and  ultimate  end  in  all  our  petitions,  that  God 
may  be  glorified  ;  all  our  other  requests  must  be  in 
subordination  to  this  and  in  pursuance  of  it.  "  Fa- 
ther, glorify  thyself  in  giving  me  my  daily  biead  and 
pardoning  my  sins,"  &c.  Since  all  is  of  him  and 
through  him,  all  must  be  to  him  and  for  him.  In 
prayer  our  thoughts  and  affections  should  be  canned 
out  most  to  the  glory  of  God.  The  Pharisees  made 
their  own  name  the  chief  end  of  their  prayers,  (y. 
5.  to  be  seen  of  men,)  in  opposition  to  which  we  are 
directed  to  make  the  name  of  God  our  chief  end  ; 
let  all  our  petitions  centre  in  this  and  be  reg^ilatcd 
by  it.  "  Do  so  and  so  for  me,  for  the  glory  of  thy 
name,  and  as  far  as  is  for  the  glory  of  it."  (3.)  We 
desire  and  prav  that  the  name  of  God,  that  is,  Gcd 
himself,  in  all  that  whereby  he  has  made  himself 
known,  may  be  sanctified  and  glorified  both  by  us 
and  others,  and  especially  by  himself  "  Father, 
let  thy  name  be  glorified  as  a  Father,  and  a  Father 
in  hea\en  ;  glorify  thy  goodness  and  thy  highness, 
thy  majesty  and  mercy.  Let  thy  name  be  sanctified, 
for  it  is  a  Koly  name  ;  no  matter  what  becomes  of 
our  polluted  names,  but.  Lord,  what  wilt  thou  do  to 
thy  great  name  ?'"  'When  we  pray  that  God's  name 
may  be  glorified,  [1.]  ^^'e  make  a  virtue  of  neces- 
sity ;  for  God  will  sanctify  his  own  name,  whether 
we  desire  it  or  not ;  /  will  be  exalted  among  the 
heathen,  Ps.  46.  10.  [2.]  We  ask  for  that  which 
we  are  sure  shall  be  granted  ;  for  when  our  Saviour 
prayed.  Father,  glorify  thy  name,  it  was  immedi- 
ately answered,  I  have  glorified  it,  and  will  glorify 
it  again. 

2.  Thii  kingdom  come.  This  petition  has  plainly 
a  reference  to  the  doctrine  which  Christ  preached 
at  this  time,  which  John  Baptist  had  preached  be- 
fore, and  which  he  afterwards  sent  his  apostles  out 
to  preach — the  kingdom  of  heaveri  is  at  hand.  The 
kingdom  of  vour  Father  which  is  in  heaven,  the 
kingdom  of  the  Messiah,  this  is  at  hand,  pray  that 
it  mav  come.  Note,  We  should  turn  the  word  v.-e 
hear  into  praver,  our  hearts  should  echo  to  it ;  does 
Christ  promise,  surely  I  come  quickly,  our  hearts 
should  answer,  ei'a:  so,  come.  Ministers  should 
pray  over  the  word  :  when  thev  preach,  the  king- 
dom of  God  is  at  hand,  they  shoiild  pray.  Father, 
thy  kingdom  come.  \M)at  God  has  promised  we 
must  pray  for  ;  for  promises  are  given,  not  to  super 
sede,  but  to  quicken  and  encourage,  prayer ;  and 
when  the  accomplishment  of  a  pi-omise  is  near  and 
at  the  door,  when  the  kingdom  of  hea^■en  is  at  hand, 
we  should  then  pray  for  it  the  more  earnestly  ;  thy 
kingdom  come ;  as  Daniel  set  his  face  to  pray  for  the 
deliverance  of  Israel,  when  he  understood  that  the 
time  of  it  was  at  hand,  Dan.  9.  2.  See  Luke  19.  11. 
It  was  the  Jews'  daily  prayer  to  Gcd,  Let  him  make 
his  kingdom  reign,  let  his  redemption  flourish,  and 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


67 


let  his  Messiah  come  and  delixier  his  peofxle.  Dr. 
Whitby,  ex  Vitringa.  "Let  thy  kingdom  come,  let 
the  gospel  be  preached  to  all  and  cniLruced  by  all  ; 
let  all  be  brought  to  subscribe  to  the  record  (jihI  has 
given  in  his  word  concerning  his  Son,  and  to  cm- 
brace  him  as  their  Saviour  and  Sovereign.  Let  the 
bounds  tif  the  gosijel-church  l)c  enlarged,  the  king- 
dom of  the  world  be  made  Christ's  kingdom,  ;uid 
all  men  become  subjects  to  it,  and  live  as  becomes 
their  character. " 

3.  Thy  loill  be  done  on  earth,  as  it  is  in  heaven. 
W'c  pray  that  God's  kingdom  being  come,  we  and 
others  niay  be  brought  into  obedience  to  all  the  laws 
imd  oixlinances  of  it.  By  this  let  it  appear  that 
Christ's  kingdom  is  come,  let  God's  luill  be  done ; 
and  by  this  let  it  appear  that  it  is  come  as  a  kingdom 
of  heaven,  let  it  mtroduce  a  heaven  u/ion  earth. 
We  make  Christ  l)ut  a  titular  Prince,  if  we  call  him 
King,  and  do  not  do  his  will  :  ha\  ing  prayed  that  he 
may  nile  us,  we  i)i-ay  that  we  may  in  ever)-  thing  be 
nded  bv  him.  (ibservc,  (1.)  The  thing  prayed  for, 
thi/  T.'ill he  done ;  "  Lord,  do  what  thou  plcasest  with 
me  and  mine  ;  1  Sam.  3.  18.  I  refer  myself  to  thee, 
and  am  well  satisfied  that  all  thv  counsel  concerning 
me  should  be  performed."  In  this  sense  Christ 
prayed,  not  my  will,  but  thine  be  done.  "  Enable 
me  to  do  what  is  plea.sing  to  thee;  give  me  that 
grace  that  is  necessary  to  the  right  knowledge  of 
thv  will,  and  an  acceptable  obedience  to  it  Let  thy 
will  be  done  conscientiously  by  me  and  others,  not 
our  own  will,  the  will  of  the  flesh,  or  the  mind,  not 
the  will  of  men,  (1  PeL  4.  2.)  much  less  Satan's 
will,  (Johns,  a.)  that  we  may  neither  displease 
God  in  any  thing  we  do,  (ut  nihil  nostrum  dis/i/iceat 
Deo,)  nor  be  displeased  at  anything  God  does," 
f  ut  nihil  Dei  din/iliceat  nobis.  J  (2.)  The  pattern  of 
it,  that  it  may  be  done  on  earth,  m  this  place  of  our 
trial  and  probation,  (where  our  work  must  be  done, 
or  it  never  will  be  done,)  as  it  is  done  in  heaven,  that 
place  of  rest  and  joy.  \\'e  pray  that  earth  may  be 
made  more  like  to  heaven  by  the  oljservance  of 
(iod's  will,  which,  through  the  prevalency  of  Satan's 
will,  is  become  so  near  akin  to  hell  ;  and  that  saints 
may  be  made  more  like  to  the  holy  angels  in  their 
devotion  and  oliedience.  We  are  on  earth,  blessed 
be  God,  not  yet  under  the  earth ;  we  pray  for  the 
living  only,  not  for  the  dead,  that  are  gone  down  into 
silence. 

4.  Give  us  this  day  our  daily  bread.  Because  our 
natural  being  is  necessary  to  our  spiritual  well-being 
in  this  world,  therefore,  after  the  things  of  God's 
glory,  kingdom,  and  will,  we  pray  for  the  necessan- 
supports  and  comforts  of  this  present  life,  which 
are  the  gifts  of  God,  and  must  be  asked  of  him,  T«v 
Sfroi  iTi«Vi!y — Bread  fir  the  day  a/ifiroaching,  for 
all  the  remainder  of  our  lives.  Bread  fijr  the  time 
to  come,  or  bread  fi/r  our  being  and  subsistence,  that 
which  is  agreeable  to  our  condition  in  the  world, 
(Prov.  30.  8.)  fiod  convenient  for  us  and  our  fami- 
lies, accoixling  to  our  rank  and  station. 

Eveiy  word  here  has  a  lesson  in  it :  (1.)  \Vc  ask 
for  bread ;  that  teaches  us  sobriet)'  and  temperance ; 
we  .isk  for  bread,  not  dainties,  not  superfluities ;  that 
which  is  wholesome,  though  it  be  not  nice.  (2. )  We 
ask  for  our  bread  ;  that  teaches  us  honesty  and  in- 
dustry :  we  do  not  ask  for  the  bread  out'of  other 
people's  mouths,  not  the  bread  of  deceit,  (Prov.  20. 
13.)  not  the  bread  of  idleness,  (Prov.  31.  27.)  but  the 
bread  honestly  gotten.  (3.)  \\'e  ask  for  our  daily 
bread  ;  which  teaches  us  not  to  talre  thought  for  the 
morrow,  {ch.  6.  34.)  but  constantlv  to  depend  upon 
divine  providence,  as  those  that  live  from  hand  to 
mouth.  (4.)  \\'e  beg  of  God  to  gii-e  it  us,  not  sell 
it  us,  nor  lend  it  us,  but  ,gix>e  it.  The  greatest  of 
men  must  be  beholden  to  the  mercy  of  God  for  their 
daily  bread.  (5.)  We  pray,  "  Give  it  to  us  ;  not  to 
mp  only,  but  to  others  m  common  with  me."    This 


teaches  us  charity,  and  a  compassionate  concern  for 
the  poor  smd  needy.  It  intimates  also,  that  we 
ought  to  ])ray  with  our  families  ;  we  and  our  house- 
holds cat  together,  and  therefore  ought  to  pray  to- 
gether. (6.)  We  pray  that  God  would  givo  it  xb 
this  day  ;  which  teaches  us  to  renew  the  desire  of 
our  souls  toward  (Jod,  as  the  wants  of  our  bodies 
are  renewed  ;  as  duly  as  the  day  comes,  we  must 
pray  to  our  heaxcnly  leather,  and  reckon  we  should 
as  well  go  a  day  without  meat,  as  without  ])raycr. 

5.  And  forgive  us  our  debts,  as  we  forgive  our 
debtors.  This  is  connected  with  the  fomier :  and 
forgive,  intimating,  that  unless  our  sins  be  par- 
doned, we  can  have  no  comfort  in  life,  or  the  sup- 
ports of  it.  Our  daily  bread  does  but  feed  us  as 
lambs  for  the  slaughter,  if  our  sins  be  not  pardoned. 
It  intimates  likewise,  that  we  must  prav  for  daily 
fiardon,  as  duly  as  we  pray  for  daily  bread.  He 
that  is  washed,  needeth  to  wash  his  feet.  Here  we 
have, 

f  1.)  .\  petition  ;  Father  in  heaven,  forgive  us  our 
debts,  our  debts  to  thee.  Note,  [1.]  Our  sins  are 
our  debts  ;  there  is  a  debt  of  duty,  which,  as  crea- 
tures, we  owe  to  our  Creator  ;  we  do  not  pray  to  be 
discharged  from  that,  but,  upon  the  non-])ayment 
of  that  there  arises  a  debt  of  punishment ;  in  defaiUt 
of  obedience  to  the  will  of  God,  we  became  obnoxious 
to  the  wrath  of  God  ;  and  for  not  observing  the  pre- 
cept of  the  law,  we  stand  obliged  to  the  penalty. 
A  debtor  is  liable  to  process,  so  are  we  :  a  malefac- 
tor is  a  debtor  to  the  law,  so  are  we.  [2.J  Our 
heart's  desire  and  prayer  to  our  heavenly  Father 
even,-  day  should  be,  that  he  would  forgive  us  our 
debts;  that  the  obligation  to  punishment  may  be 
cancelled  and  vacated,  that  we  may  not  come  into 
condemnation  ;  that  we  may  be  discharged,  and  have 
the  comfort  of  it  In  suing  out  the  pardon  of  our 
sins,  the  great  plea  we  have  to  rely  upon,  is  the 
satisfaction  that  was  made  to  the  justice  of  God  for 
the  sin  of  man,  by  the  dying  of  the  Lord  Jesus  our 
Surety,  or  rather  Bail  to  the  action,  that  undertook 
our  discharge. 

(2.)  .^n  argument  to  enforce  this  petition  ;  as  we 
forgive  our  debtors.  This  is  not  a  plea  of  merit, 
but  a  plea  of  grace.  Note,  Tliose  that  come  to  God 
for  the  forgiveness  of  their  sins  against  him,  must 
make  conscience  of  forgiving  those  who  have  of- 
fended them,  else  they  curse  themselves  when  they 
say  the  Lord's  prayer.  Our  duty  is  to  forgive  our 
debtors ;  as  to  debts  of  money,  we  must  not  be  rigor- 
ous and  severe  in  exacting  them  from  those  that 
cannot  pay  them  without  ruining  themsehes  and 
their  families  ;  but  this  means  debts  of  injuiT  ;  our 
debtors  are  those  that  tres/tass  against  us,  that  smite 
us,  {ch.  5.  39,  40.)  and,  in  strictness  of  law,  might 
l)e  prosecuted  for  it ;  we  must  forbear,  and  forgive, 
and  forget  the  affronts  put  upon  us,  and  the  wrongs 
done  us  ;  and  this  is  a  moral  qualification  for  pardon 
and  peace  ;  it  encourages  to  hope,  that  God  will  /br- 
gri'e  Jis  ;  for  if  there  be  in  us  this  gracious  disposi- 
tion, it  is  wrought  of  God,  and  therefore  is  a  perfec- 
tion eminently  and  ti-ansccndcntly  in  himself;  it  will 
be  an  evidence  to  us  that  he  has  forgiven  us,  having 
wrought  in  us  the  condition  of  forgiveness. 

6.  ..ind  lead  us  not  into  temptation,  but  deliver  us 
from  evil.     This  petition  is  expressed, 

(1.)  Negatively  :  Lead  us  not  into  temptation. 
Having  prayed  that  the  guilt  of  sin  may  be  removed, 
we  pray,  as  is  fit,  that  we  may  never  return  again 
to  folly,  that  we  may  not  be  tempted  to  it.  It  is  not 
as  if  God  tempted  any  to  sin  ;  but  "Lord,  do  not  let 
Satan  loose  upon  us  ;  chain  up  that  roaring  lion,  for 
he  is  subtle  and  spiteful  ;  I^ord,  do  not  leave  us  to 
ourselves,  (Ps.  19.  13.)  for  we  are  very  weak  ;  Lord, 
do  not  lay  stumbling-blocks  and  snares  before  us,  nor 
put  us  into  such  circumstances  as  may  be  an  occasion 
of  falling. "   Temptations  are  to  be  prayed  against, 


68 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


both  because  of  the  discomfort  and  trouble  of  them, 
and  because  of  the  danger  we  are  in  of  being  over- 
come by  them,  and  the  guilt  and  grief  that  then 
follow. 

(2. )  Positively  :  But  deliver  us  Jrom  evil,  o^o  to 
Tranifi—from  the  evil  one,  the  devil,  the  tempter ; 
"keep  us,  that  either  we  may  not  be  assaulted  by 
him,  or  we  may  not  be  overcome  by  those  assaults  ;" 
Or  from  the  evil  thing,  sin,  the  worst  of  evils ;  an 
evd,  an  only  evil ;  that  evil  thing  which  God  hates, 
and  which  Satan  tempts  men  to  and  destroys  them 
by.  "  Lord,  deliver  us  from  the  evil  of  the  world, 
the  corruption  that  is  in  the  world  through  lust ; 
from  the  evil  of  every  condition  in  the  world  ;  from 
the  evil  of  death,  from  the  sting  of  death  which  is 
sin :  deliver  us  from  ourselves,  from  our  own  e\"il 
hearts :  deliver  us  from  evil  men,  that  they  may  not 
be  a  snare  to  us,  nor  we  a  prey  to  them." 

III.  The  conclusion  :  For  thine  is  the  kingdom, 
a7id  the  fioiver,  and  the  glory,  for  ex'er.  Jmen. 
Some  refer  this  to  David's  doxology,  1  Chron.  29.  11. 
Thine,  O  Lord,  is  the  greatness.     It  is, 

1.  A  form  of  plea  to  enforce  the  foregoing  peti- 
tions. It  is  our  duty  to  plead  with  God  in  prayer, 
to  fill  our  mouth  with  arguments,  (Job  23.  4.)  not  to 
move  God,  but  to  affect  ourselves ;  to  encourage  our 
faith,  to  excite  our  fervency,  and  to  evidence  both. 
Now  the  best  pleas  in  prayer,  arc  those  that  are 
taken  from  God  himself,  and  from  that  which  he 
has  made  known  of  himself.  We  must  wrestle  with 
God  in  his  own  strength,  both  as  to  the  matter  of 
our  pleas  and  the  urging  of  them.  Tlie  plea  here 
has  special  refei'ence  to  the  three  first  petitions : 
"-Father  in  heaven,  thy  kiJigdom  come,  for  thine  is  the 
kingdom  ;  thy  will  be  done,  for  thine  is  the  power ; 
hallowed  be  thy  name,  for  thine  is  the  glory."  And 
as  to  our  own  particular  errands,  these  are  en- 
couraging :  "  Thine  is  the  kingdom  ;  thou  hast  the 
government  of  the  world,  and  the  protection  of  the 
saints,  tliy  willing  subjects  in  it :"  God  gives  and 
saves  like  a  king.  "  Thine  is  the  fiower,  to  maintain 
and  support  that  kingdom,  and  to  make  good  all 
thine  engagements  to  thy  people."  Thine  is  the 
glory,  as  the  end  of  all  that  which  is  given  to,  and 
done  for,  the  saints,  in  answer  to  their  prayers  ;  for 
t\ie\r  praise  waiteth  for  him.  This  is  matter  of  com- 
fort and  holy  confidence  in  prayer. 

2.  It  is  a  form  of  praise  and  thanksgiving.  The 
best  pleading  with  God  is  praising  of  him;  it  is  the 
way  to  obtain  further  mercy,  as  it  qualifies  us  to  re- 
ceive it.  In  all  our  addresses  to  God,  it  is  fit  that 
praise  should  have  a  consideralile  share,  for  firaise 
oecometh  the  saints;  they  are  to  be  to  our  God  for  a 
name  and  for  a  /iraise.  It  is  just  and  equal;  we  praise 
God,  and  give  him  glorv,  not  because  he  needs  it — 
he  is  praised  by  a  world  of  angels,  but  because  he 
deserves  it;  and  it  is  our  duty  to  give  him  glorv,  in 
compliance  with  his  design  in  revealing  himself  to 
us.  Praise  is  the  work  and  happiness  of  heaven ;  and 
all  that  would  go  to  heaven  hereafter,  must  begin 
their  heaven  now.  Observe,  how  full  this  doxologv 
is.  The  kingdom,  and  the  power,  and  the  glory,  it  is 
all  thine.  Note,  It  becomes  us  to  he  copious  in  prais- 
ing God.  A  true  saint  never  thinks  he  can  speak 
honourablv  enough  of  God  :  here  there  should  be  a 
gracious  fluency,  and  this_/br  ever.  Ascribing  glory 
ioGnd  for  ever,  intimates  an  acknowledgment,  that 
it  is  eternally  due,  and  an  earnest  desire  to  be  eter- 
nally doing  it,  with  angels  and  saints  above,  Ps.  71. 
14. 

Lastly,  To  all  this  we  are  taught  to  affix  our  Amen, 
so  be  it.  God's  Amen  is  a  grant;  \a?,  fiat  is,  it  shall 
be  so:  our  Amen  is  only  a  summary  desire;  o\iv  fiat 
is,  lot  it  be  so :  it  is  in  token  of  our  desire  and  assur- 
ance to  be  heard,  that  we  say.  Amen.  Amen  refers 
to  every  petition  going  before,  and  thus,  in  compas- 
sion to  our  infirmities,  we  are  taught  to  knit  up  the 


whole  in  one  word,  and  so  to  gather  up,  in  the  gene- 
ral, what  we  have  lost  and  let  slip  in  the  particulars. 
It  is  good  to  conclude  religious  duties  with  some 
warmth  and  vigour,  that  we  may  go  from  them  with 
a  sweet  savour  upon  our  spirits.  It  was  of  old  the 
practice  of  good  people  to  say,  Amen,  audibly  at  the 
end  of  eveiy  prayer,  and  it  is  a  commendable  prac- 
tice, provided  it  be  done  with  understanding,  as  the 
apostle  directs,  (1  Cor.  14.  16.)  and  uprightly,  with 
life  and  liveliness,  and  inward  mipressions,  answer- 
able to  that  outwai'd  expression  of  desire  and  confi- 
dence. 

Mast  of  the  petitions  in  the  Lord's  prayer  had 
been  commonly  used  by  the  Jews  in  their  devotions, 
or  words  to  the  same  efltct:  but  that  clause  in  the 
fifth  petition.  As  we  forgii'e  our  debtors,  was  per- 
fectly nevi',  and  therefoi-e  our  Saviour  here  shows  for 
wh;it  reason  he  added  it,  not  with  anv  jsersonal  re- 
flection upon  the  peevishness,  litigiousness,  and  ill 
nature  of  the  men  of  that  generation,  though  there 
was  cause  enough  for  it,  but  only  from  the  necessity 
and  importance  of  the  thing  itself.  God,  in  forgiv 
ing  us,  has  a  peculiar  respect  to  our  forgi\  ing  those 
that  have  injured  us;  and  therefore,  when  we  pray 
for  pardon,  we  must  mention  our  making  conscience 
of  that  dut)-,  not  only  to  remind  ourseh  es  of  it,  but 
to  bind  ourselves  to  it.  See  that  parable,  ch.  18.  23 
— 35.  Selfish  nature  is  loth  to  comply  with  this,  and 
therefore  it  is  here  inculcated,  v.  14,  15. 

1.  In  a  promise.  If  ye  forgive,  your  heavenly 
Father  will  also  forgi-i<e.  Not  as  if  this  were  the 
only  condition  required  ;  there  must  be  repentance 
and  faith,  and  new  obedience;  but  as  where  other 
gi-aces  arc  in  tnith,  there  will  be  this,  so  this  will  be 
a  good  e\idence  of  the  sincerity  of  our  other  graces. 
He  that  relents  toward  his  brother,  thereby  shows 
that  he  repents  toward  his  God.  Those  which  in 
the  praycrare  caWeAdcbts,  are  here  called  trespasses, 
debts  of  injury,  wrongs  done  us  in  our  bodies,  goods, 
or  repvitation:  trespasses;  it  is  an  extenuating  term 
for  offt'nces,  irafa^-TwuiTa — stumbles,  slips,  falls. 
Note,  It  is  a  good  evidence,  and  a  good  help  of  our 
forgi\ing  others,  to  call  the  injuries  done  us  by  a  mol- 
lifying, excusing  name.  Call  them  not  treasons,  but 
tres/iasses;  not  v/ilful  injuries,  but  casu;d  inadx'cr- 
tences;  peradventure  it  was  an  oversight,  (Gen.  43. 
12.)  therefore  make  the  best  of  it.  V\'c  must  for 
give,  as  we  hope  to  be  forgi\-en;  and  therefore  mu.st 
not  onlv  bear  no  malice,  nor  meditate  re\engc,  bui 
must  not  upl)raid  our  brother  with  the  iniurics  he 
has  done  us,  nor  rejoice  in  any  hurt  that  befalls  him, 
but  must  be  ready  to  help  him  and  do  him  good,  and 
if  he  repent  and  desire  to  be  friends  again,  we  must 
be  free  and  familiar  with  him,  as  before. 

2.  In  a  threatening.  "Hut  if  you  forgwe  not 
those  that  have  injured  vou,  that  is  a  Ijad  sign  you 
have  not  the  other  requisite  conditions,  but  are  al- 
together imqualified  for  pardon;  and  therefore  tiour 
Father,  whom  you  call  Father,  and  who,  as  a  father, 
offers  \o\\  his  grace  upon  reasonable  terms,  will  ne- 
vertheless not  forgix'e  you.  And  if  other  graces  be 
sincere,  and  yet  you  be  defecti\'e  greatly  in  fiirgiving, 
you  cannot  expect  the  comfort  of  your  pardon,  but 
to  have  your  spirits  brought  down  bv  some  affliction 
or  other  to  comply  with  this  duty. "  Note,  Those 
that  would  find  mercy  with  God  must  show  mercy 
to  their  brethren;  nor  can  we  expect  that  he  should 
stretch  out  the  hands  of  his  favour  to  us,  unless  we 
lift  up  to  him  pure  hands,  without  wrath,  1  Tim.  2. 
8.  If  we  pray  in  anger,  we  have  reason  to  fear  God 
will  answer  in  anger.  It  has  been  said,  prayers  made 
in  wrath  are  written  in  gall.  What  reason  is  it  that 
God  should  forgive  us  the  talents  we  are  indebted  to 
him,  if  we  forgive  not  our  brethren  the  pence  they 
are  indebted  to  us .'  Christ  came  into  the  world  as  the 
great  Peace-Maker,  not  only  to  reconcile  us  to  God, 
but  one  to  another,  and  in  this  we  must  comply  with 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


69 


liim.  It  is  great  presumption  and  of  dangerous  con- 
sC4Ucncc,  for  any  to  make  a  light  niatur  of  that 
wl\.ch  Christ  here  hiys  sucli  a  stress  upon.  Men's 
passions  sluill  not  frustrate  God's  word 

IG.  Moreover,  when  ye  fast,  bo  not,  as 
the  hypocrites,  of  a  sad  countenance:  for 
tliey  disfiiiuie  tlieir  faces,  that  they  may 
appear  unto  men  to  fast.  Verily  1  say  unto 
you,  tiiey  have  their  reward.  1 7.  Hut  thou, 
when  thou  fastest,  anoint  thine  head,  and 
wash  thy  face  ;  18.  Tliat  thou  appear  not 
Linto  n\iui  to  fast,  hut  unto  thy  Father  which 
is  in  secret:  and  thy  l''ather,  wliich  secth 
in  secret,  shall  reward  thee  openly. 

We  arc  here  cautioned  against  liiipocrisy  in  fast- 
ing, as  before  in  almsgi\  ing,  and  in  prayer. 

1.  It  is  lierc  supposed  that  religious  f;isting  is  a 
dutv  required  of  the  disciples  of  Christ,  when  God, 
in  'ui  providence,  calls  to  it,  and  when  the  case  of 
their  own  souls  upon  any  account  requires  it;  r^'hcn 
the  bridcifroom  is  taken  aircnj,  then  uliall  titeij  fast, 
ch.  9.  15.  Fasting  is  here  put  last,  because  it  is  not 
so  much  a  duty  for  its  own  sake,  as  a  means  to  dis- 
pose us  for  other  duties.  Prayer  comes  in  between 
almsgiving  and  fasting,  as  being  the  life  and  soul  of 
both.  Christ  here  speaks  especially  of  private  fasts, 
such  as  particular  persons  picscribc  to  thcmsehes, 
iis  free-will  offerings,  commonly  used  among  the 
pious  Jews  ;  some  fasted  one  day,  some  two,  every 
week;  others  seldomer,  as  they  saw  cause.  On  those 
da\s  thev  did  not  eat  till  sun-set,  and  tlien  very  spar- 
ingly. It  was  not  the  Pharisee's  fasting  ftvice  in  the 
iveel;  l)ut  his  boasting  of  it,  that  Christ  condemned, 
Luke  18.  12.  It  is  a  laudable  practice,  and  we  ha\e 
reason  to  lament  it,  that  it  is  so  generally  neglected 
among  christians.  Anna  was  much  in  fasting,  Luke 
2.  57.  Cornelius  fasted  and  jjrayed.  Acts  10.  30. 
The  primitive  christians  were  much  in  it,  see  Acts 
13.  3. — 14.  23.  Private  fasting  is  supposed,  1  Cor. 
7.  5.  It  is  an  act  of  self-denial,  and  mortihcation  of 
the  flesh,  a  holy  revenge  upon  ourselves,  and  humi- 
li.ation  under  the  hand  of  God.  The  most  grown 
christians  must  hereby  own,  they  are  so  far  from 
having  any  thing  to  be  proud  of,  that  they  are  im- 
worthy  of  their  dailv  bread.  It  is  a  means  to  curb 
the  flesh  and  the  desires  of  it,  and  to  make  us  more 
lively  in  religious  exercises,  as  fulness  of  bread  is  apt 
to  make  us  drowsy.  Paul  was  in  fastings  often,  and 
so  he  ftc/it  under  his  body,  and  brought  it  into  sub- 
iection. 

2.  We  are  cautioned  not  to  do  this  as  the  hypo- 
crites did  it,  lest  we  lose  the  reward  of  it ;  and  the 
more  difficulty  attends  the  duty,  the  gi-eater  loss  it 
is  to  lose  the  reward  of  it. 

Now,  (1.)  The  hypocrites  pretended  fasting,  when 
there  was  nothing  of  that  contrition  and  humiliation 
of  soul  in  them,  which  is  the  life  and  soul  of  the  duty. 
Theirs  were  mock-fasts,  the  show  and  shadow  with- 
out the  substance;  they  took  on  them  to  be  more 
humbled  than  really  they  were,  and  so  endeavoured 
to  put  a  cheat  u])on  God,  than  which  they  could  not 
put  a  greater  affront  upon  him.  The  fast  that  God 
has  chosen,  is  a  day  to  afflict  the  soul,  not  to  hang 
doivn  Ihehead  like  a  bulrush,  norforaman  tosfiread 
lackcloth  and  ashes  under  him;  we  are  quite  mista- 
iien,  if  we  call  this  a  fast,  Isa.  58.  5.  Bodily  exer- 
cise, if  that  be  all,  profits  little,  since  that  is  not  fast- 
ing to  God,  even  to  him. 

(2.)  They  proclaimed  their  fasting,  and  managed 
it  so  as  that  all  who  saw  them  might  take  notice  that 
it  was  a  fastine-day  with  them.  Even  on  these  davs 
they  appeared  in  the  streets,  whereas  they  should 
have  been  in  their  closets;  and  they  affected  a  down- 


cast look,  a  melancholy  counten;uicc,  a  slow  and 
solemn  pace;  and  perfectly  disfigured  themselves, 
that  men  niiijht  see  how  often  they  fasted,  and  might 
extol  them  tor  devout,  mortified  men.  Note,  It  is 
sad  that  men,  who  have,  in  some  measure,  master- 
ed their  ])leasurc,  which  is  sensual  wicked'ies'-, 
should  be  ruined  by  their  pride,  which  is  spiritual 
wickedness,  and  no  less  dangerous.  Mere  also  they 
hax'e  their  reu-urd,  that  praise  and  applause  of  men 
which  the)-  court  and  covet  so  mucli;  t/iey  have  it, 
lUid  it  is  their  all. 

3.  \\'e  are  directed  how  to  manage  a  private  fast; 
we  must  keep  it  private,  t.  17,  18.  He  does  not  tell 
us  how  often  we  nuist  fast;  circumstiuices  \ary,  and 
wisdom  is  profitable  therein  to  direct;  the  Spirit  in 
the  word  has  left  that  to  the  Spirit  in  the  heart;  but 
take  this  for  a  rule,  wlienever  you  undertake  this 
duty,  study  therein  to  appro\  e  ) ourselves  to  God, 
and  not  to  recommend  5  ourselves  to  the  good  opi- 
nions of  men;  humility  must  e\ermore  attend  upon 
our  humiliation.  Christ  does  n(jt  direct  to  abate  any 
thing  of  the  reality  of  the  fast;  he  does  not  say,  "take 
a  little  meat,  or  a  little  drink,  or  a  little  cordial;" 
no,  "  let  the  body  suffer,  but  lay  aside  the  show  and 
appearance  of  it';  ajjpear  with  thy  oi'dinary  counte- 
nance, guise,  and  dress;  and  while  thou  deiiiest  thy- 
self thy  bodil)-  refreshments,  do  it  so  as  that  it  may 
not  be  taken  notice  of,  no,  not  by  those  that  are  near- 
est to  thee  ;  look  pleasant,  anoint  thine  head,  and 
wash  thy  face,  as  thou  dost  in  ordinary  days,  on  pur- 
i)0se  to  conceal  thy  de\  otion  ;  and  thou  shalt  be  no 
loser  in  the  praise  of  it  at  last;  for  though  it  be  not 
of  men,  it  shall  be  of  God."     Fasting  is  the  hum- 


bling of  the  soul,  (Ps.  35.  13.)  that  is  the  inside  of 
the  duty;  let  that  therefore  be  thy  principal  care, 
and  as  to  the  outside  of  it,  covet  not  to  let  it  be  seen. 
If  we  be  sincere  in  our  solemn  fasts,  and  humble, 
and  tmst  God's  omniscience  for  our  witness,  and  his 
goodness  for  our  reward,  we  shall  find,  both  that  he 
did  see  in  secret  and  will  s-avurd  openly.  Religious 
fasts,  if  rightly  kept,  will  shortly  be  recompensed 
with  an  e\erlasting  feast.  Our  acceptance  w  ith  God 
in  our  private  fasts,  should  make  us  dead,  both  to 
the  applause  of  men,  (we  must  not  do  the  duty  in 
hopes  of  this,)  and  to  the  censures  of  men  too  :  (we 
must  not  decline  the  duty  for  fear  of  them. )  David's 
fasting  was  turned  to  his  reproach,  Ps.  69.  10.  and 
yet,  X'.  13.  .4s  for  tne,  let  them  say  what  they  will 
of  me,  my  prayer  is  unto  thee  in  an  acceptable  titne. 

19.  Lay  not  up  for  yourselvts  treasures 
upon  earth,  where  moth  and  rust  doth  cor- 
rupt, and  where  thieves  break  through  and 
steal :  20.  But  lay  up  for  yourselves  trea- 
sures in  heaven,  where  neither  moth  nor 
rust  doth  corrupt,  and  \\here  thieves  do  not 
breakthrough  nor  steal:  21.  For  where 
your  treasine  is,  there  will  your  heart  be 
also.  22.  The  light  of  the  body  is  the  eye : 
if  therefore  thine  eve  be  single,  thy  whole 
body  shall  be  full  of  light :  23.  But  if  thine 
eye  be  evil,  thy  whole  body  shall  he  full  of 
darkness.  If  therefore  the  light  that  is  in 
thee  be  darkness,  how  great  is  that  dark- 
ness !  24.  No  man  can  serve  two  masters : 
for  either  he  will  hate  the  one,  and  love  the 
other;  or  else  he  \\i\\  hold  to  the  one,  and 
despise  the  other.  Ye  cannot  serve  God 
and  Mammon. 

Worldly-mindedness  is  as  common  and  as  fatal  a 
symptom  <)f  hypocrisy  as  any  other,  for  by  no  sin 
can  Satan  have  a  surer  and  faster  hold  of  the  soiil. 


70 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


under  the  c  •^al  f  a  visible  and  passable  profession 
of  religion,  Ihaj  \:y  this ;  and  tlierefore  Christ  liav- 
ing  warnea  us  against  coveting  the  praise  of  men, 
proceeds  next  ta  warn  us  against  coveting  the  wealth 
of  the  world;  in  this  also  we  must  take  heed,  lest  we 
be  as  the  hvpocrites  are,  and  do  as  they  do:  the  fun- 
damental eiTor  that  they  are  guilty  of  is,  that  they 
choose  the  world  for  l/wir  reward;  we  must  there- 
fore take  heed  of  hypocrisy  and  worldl5'-mindedness, 
in  the  choice  we  make  of  our  treasure,  our  end,  and 
our  masters. 

I.  In  choosing  the  treasure  we  lay  u{i.  Some- 
thing or  other  every  man  has  which  he  makes  his 
treasure,  his  portion  which  his  heart  is  upon,  to 
which  he  carries  all  he  can  get,  and  which  he  de- 
pends upon  for  futui'ity.  It  is  that  good,  tliat  chief 
good,  wliich  Solomon  speaks  of  with  such  an  em- 
phasis, Eccl.  2.  3.  Something  the  soul  will  have, 
which  it  looks  upon  as  the  best  thing,  which  it  has  a 
complacency  and  confidence  in  above  other  things. 
Now  Christ  designs  not  to  deprive  us  of  our  trea- 
sure, but  to  direct  us  in  the  choice  of  it ;  and  here  we 
have, 

1.  A  good  caution  against  making  the  things  that 
are  seen,  that  are  temporal,  our  best  things,  and 
placing  our  happiness  in  them.  Lay  not  up  for 
yourselves  treasures  ujioyi  eartli.  Christ's  disciples 
had  left  all  to  follow  him,  let  tliem  still  keep  in  the 
same  good  mind.  A  treasure  is  an  abundance  of 
something  that  is  in  itself,  at  least  in  our  opinion, 
precious  and  valuable,  and  likely  to  stand  us  in  stead 
hereafter.  Now  we  must  not  lay  up  our  treasures 
on  earth,  that  is,  (1.)  ^Ve  must  not  count  these  things 
the  best  things,  not  the  most  valuable  in  themselves, 
nor  the  most  serviceable  to  us:  we  must  not  call  them 
glory,  as  Laban's  sons  did,  but  see  and  own  that  they 
have  no  glory  in  comparison  with  the  glory  that  ej~- 
celleth.  (2.)  We  must  not  covet  an  abundance  of 
these  things,  nor  Ije  still  gi-asping  at  more  and  more 
of  them,  and  adding  to  them,  as  men  do  to  that  which 
is  their  treasure,  as  never  knowing  when  we  have 
enough.  (3.)  We  must  not  confide  in  them  for  fu- 
turity, to  be  our  security  and  supply  in  time  to  come; 
we  must  not  say  to  the  gold,  Thou  art  my  hope.  (4. ) 
We  must  not  content  ourselves  with  them,  as  all  we 
need  or  desire  :  we  must  be  content  with  a  little  for 
our  passage,  but  not  with  all  for  our  portion.  These 
things  must  not  be  made  our  consolation,  (Luke  6. 
24.)  our  good  things,  Luke  16.  25.  Let  us  consider 
we  arc  laying  up,- not  for  onr  posterity  in  this  world, 
but  for  ourselves  in  the  other  world.  We  are  put 
to  our  choice,  and  made  in  a  manner  our  own  car- 
vers; that  is  ours  which  we  lay  up  for  ourselves.  It 
concerns  thee  to  choose  wisely,  for  thou  art  choosing 
for  thyself,  and  shalt  have  as  thou  choosest.  If  we 
know  and  consider  ourselves  what  we  are,  what  we 
are  made  for,  how  large  our  capacities  arc,  and  how 
long  our  continuance,  and  that  our  souls  are  our- 
selves, we  shall  see  it  a  foolish  thing  to  lay  up  our 
treasure  on  earth. 

Here  is  a  good  reason  given  wh}'  we  should  not 
look  upon  any  thing  on  earth  as  our  treasure,  because 
it  is  liable  to  loss  and  decay:  [1.]  From  cori-uption 
within.  That  which  is  treasure  upon  earth  moth  and 
rust  doth  corrupt.  If  the  treasure  be  laid  up  in  fine 
clothes,  the  moth  frets  them,  and  thev  are  gone  and 
spoiled  inscnsiblv,  when  we  thought  them  most  se- 
curely laid  up.  \l  it  be  in  com  or  other  eatables,  as 
his  was  who  had  his  bai-ns  full,  (Luke  12.  16,  17.) 
rust  (so  we  read  it)  corru/its  that :  BfSo-i; — eating, 
eaten  by  men,  for  as  goods  are  increased,  they  are 
mcreascd  that  eat  them ;  (Eccl.  5.  11.)  eaten  by  "mice 
or  other  vermin  ;  manna  itsdf  bred  woi-ms ;  or  if  it 
erows  mould)'  and  musty  ;  is  sti-uck,  or  smutted,  or 
blasted ;  fruits  soon  rot.  Or,  if  we  understand  it  of 
silver  and  gold,  they  tarnish  ai^  J  canker ;  they  gi-ow 
Jr.is  with  using,  and  gi-ow  woi-se  with  keeping ;  (Jam. 


5.  2,  3.)  the  rust  and  the  moth  breed  in  the  meta) 
itself  and  in  the  garment  itself.  Note,  Worldly 
riches  have  in  themseh  es  a  principle  of  corruption 
and  decay ;  they  wither  of  themselves  and  make 
themselves  ivings.  [2.]  From  violence  without. 
Thieves  break  through  and  steal.  Every  hand  of 
violence  will  be  aiming  at  the  house  where  the  trea-  ' 
sure  is  laid  up  ;  nor  can  any  thing  be  laid  up  so  safe, 
but  we  may  be  spoiled  of  it.  A'unijuam  ego  fortunei' 
credidi,  etiam  si  videretur  paceni  agere ;  omnia  ilia 
c/ucB  in  me  indulgentissime  conferebat,  pecuniam. 
honores,  gloriam,  eo  loco  posui,  unde  posset  ea,  sine 
metu  meo,  repetere — I  never  reposed  confidence  in 
fortune,  eveyi  if  she  seemed  propitious :  whatei'er 
luere  thefavours  which  her  bounty  bestowed,  whether 
wealth,  honours,  or  glory,  I  so  disposed  of  them  that 
it  was  in  her  power  to  recall  them  without  occasioning 
7ne  any  alarm.  Seneca.  Consol.  ad  Nelv.  It  is  folly 
to  make  that  our  treasure  which  we  may  so  easily 
be  robbed  of. 

Good  counsel,  to  make  the  joys  and  glories  of  the 
other  world,  those  things  not  seoi  that  are  eternal, 
our  best  things,  and  to  place  our  happiness  in  them. 
iMy  up  for  yourselves  treasures  in  heaven.  Note, 
(1.)  There  are  treasures  in  heaven,  as  sure  as  there 
are  on  this  earth  ;  and  those  in  heaven  are  the  only 
tnie  treasures,  the  riches  and  glories  and  pleasures 
that  are  at  God's  right  hand,  which  those  that  are 
sanctified  ti-uly  arrive  at,  when  they  come  to  be  sanc- 
tified ])erfecth'.  (2.)  It  is  our  wisdom  to  lay  up  our 
treasure  in  those  treasures ;  to  give  all  diligence  to 
make  sure  our  title  to  eternal  life  through  Jesus 
Christ,  and  to  depend  upon  that  as  our  happiness, 
and  look  upon  aU  things  here  below  with  a  holy  con- 
tempt, as  not  worthy  to  be  compared  with  it.  We 
must  firmly  believe  there  is  such  a  happiness,  and  re- 
solve to  be  content  with  that,  and  to  l^e  content  with 
nothing  short  of  it.  If  we  thus  make  those  treasures 
ours,  they  are  laid  up,  and  we  may  ti-ust  God  to  keep 
them  safe  for  us ;  thither  let  us  then  refer  all  our 
designs,  and  extend  all  our  desires ;  thither  let  us 
send  before  our  best  effects  and  best  affections.  Let 
us  not  burden  oursch'es  with  the  cash  of  this  world, 
which  will  but  load  and  defile  us,  and  be  liable  to 
sink  us,  but  lay  up  in  store  good  securities.  The  pro- 
mises are  bUls  of  exchange,  by  which  all  true  be- 
lievers return  their  treasure  to  heaven,  payable  in 
the  future  state  :  and  thus  we  must  m:ike  that  sure 
that  will  be  made  sure.  (3.)  It  is  a  great  encourage- 
ment to  us  to  lay  uji  our  treasure  in  heaven,  that  there 
it  is  safe  ;  it  will  not  decay  of  itself,  no  moth  nor  rust 
will  corrupt  it ;  nor  can  we  be  by  force  or  fraud  de 
prived  of  it ;  thieves  do  7iot  break  throzigh  and  steal. 
It  is  a  happiness  above  and  beyond  the  changes  and 
chances  of^time,  an  inheritance  incorruptible. 

3.  A  good  reason  why  we  should  thus  choose,  and 
an  evidence  that  we  have  done  so,  (■;•.  21.)  Where 
your  treasure  is,  on  earth  or  in  heaven,  there  will 
your  heart  be.  We  are  therefore  concerned  to  be 
right  and  wise  in  the  choice  of  our  treasure,  because 
the  temper  of  our  minds,  and  consequently  the  tenor 
of  our  li\'es,  will  be  accordingly  either  carnal  or  spi- 
ritual, earthly  or  heavenly.  The  heart  follows  the 
treasure,  as  the  needle  follows  the  loadstone,  or  the 
sunflower  the  sun.  TVJiere  the  treasure  is,  there  the 
\alue  and  esteem  is  ;  the7'e  the  love  and  affection  is. 
Col.  3.  2.  That  way  the  desires  and  pursuits  go, 
thitherward  the  aims  and  intents  are  levelled,  and  all 
is  done  with  that  in  view.  JlTiere  the  treasure  is, 
there  our  cares  and  fears  are,  lest  we  come  short  of 
it ;  about  that  we  are  more  solicitous  ;  there ourYiope 
and  tnist  is ;  (Prov.  18.  10,  11.)  there  our  joys  and  de- 
lights will  be  ;  (Ps.  119.  111.)  a.T\Athere  our  thoughts 
will  be  ;  there  the  inward  thought  will  be,  the  _/irst 
thought,  the  free  thought,  the.^jrrf  thought,  the^rf- 
guent,  the  familiar  thought.  The  heart  is  God's 
due,   (Prov.  23.  26.)  and,  that  he  may  have  it,  our 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


71 


m-aaun- itwiii  oe  laid  up  with  him,  and  then  our  souls 
will  l)c  lifted  up  to  him. 

This  direction  about  lujing  up  our  treasure,  may 
very  fitly  be  applied  to  the  foregoing  caution,  of  not 
<li)itig  what  we  do  in  reliijion  to  be  seen  of  men.  Our 
treasure  is  our  alms,  prayere,  and  fastings,  ;uid  the 
reward  of  tliem  ;  if  we  have  done  these  only  to  gain 
tlie  ap])luuse  of  men,  we  have  laid  u/i  t/iis  treasure 
on  earth,  have  lodged  it  in  the  hands  of  men,  and 
must  never  expect  to  hear  any  further  of  it.  Now 
it  is  foil)'  to  do  tliis,  for  the  firame  of  men  we  covet  so 
much,  is  liable  to  corraption  ;  it  will  sixin  l)c  rusted, 
and  moth-eaten,  and  tarnished  ;  a  little  foll\',  like  a 
dead  fly,  will  sjjoil  it  all,  Eccl.  10.  1.  Slander  and 
calumny  are  thieves  that  break  through  and  steal  it 
away,  and  so  we  lose  all  tlie  treasure  of  our  perform- 
ances ;  we  ha\  c  iini  in  vain  and  laboured  in  vain, 
because  we  misplaced  our  intentions  in  doing  of  them. 
Hypocritical  services  lav  up  nothing  in  heaven  ; 
(Isa.  5H.  3. )  the  gain  of  tliem  is  gone,  when  the  soul 
is  called  for,  Job  27.  8.  But  if  \vc  ha\c  prayed  and 
fasted  iuid  given  alms,  in  truth  and  upi'ightness,  with 
an  eye  to  God  and  to  his  accejjtance,  and  have  ap- 
Jjroved  om-selves  to  him  therein,  we  have  laid  up  that 
treasure  in  heaven  ;  a  bvjk  of  remembrance  is  vjrilten 
there,  (Mai.  3.  16.)  and  being  there  recorded,  they 
shall  be  there  rewarded,  and  we  shall  meet  them 
again  with  comfort  on  the  other  side  death  and  the 
gi'ave.  Hy])ocrites  are  '.vritten  in  the  earth,  (Jcr.  17. 
13. )  but  God's  faithful  ones  have  their  names  ivritten 
in  heaven,  Luke  10.  20.  .\cccptance  with  God  is 
treasure  in  heaven,  which  can  neither  be  corrupted 
nor  stolen.  His  we//  done  shall  stand  for  e\'er ;  and 
if  we  ha\e  thus  laid  up  our  treasure  with  liim,  with 
him  our  hearts  will  be  ;  and  where  can  thev  be  bet- 
ter ? 

II.  We  must  take  heed  of  hiiTJocrisy  and  worldly- 
mindedness  in  choosing  the  encl  ive  look  at.  Our  con- 
cern as  to  this  is  represented  by  two  sorts  of  eves 
which  men  ha\e,  a  .linglc  eye  and  an  evil  eife,  v.  2", 
23.  The  expressions  here  arc  somewhat  dark  I)e- 
causc  concise  ;  wesh;Jl  therefore  take  them  in  some 
variety  of  intcr])ret:ition.  The  li,g-ht  of  the  body  is 
the  eye,  that  is  plain  ;  the  eye  is  discovering  and  di- 
recting ;  the  light  of  the  tvorld  would  avail  us  little 
without  this  light  of  the  body ;  it  is  the  tight  of  the  eye 
that  rejoieeth  the  heart,  (Prov.  15.  30.)  but  what 'is 
that  which  is  here  compared  to  the  eye  in  the  bo-ly  ? 

1.  The  eye,  that  is,  the  heart;  (so  some)  if  tha'  6f 
single — iTA«;— -/riraiid  bountiful,  (sothcwordisl're- 
quently  rendered,  as  Koii.  12.  8.  2  Cor.  8.  2. — 9. 
11,13.  Jam.  1.  5.  .and  we  n  adof  a  AoF/n^J/"«/p;/p,  Prov. 
22.  9.)  If  tlie  heart  be  liberally  affected  and  stand 
inclined  to  goodness  and  charity,  it  will  direct  the 
man  to  christian  actions,  the  whole  conversation  tvill 
befall  oflis^hr,  full  of  the  evidences  and  instances  of 
true  Christianity,  that  fnire  religion  and  undented  be- 
fore God  and  the  Father;  {Jam.  1.  27.)  full  of  light, 
of  good  works,  which  are  our  light  shining  before 
men  ;  but  if  the  heart  be  evil,  co\  etous,  and  hard,  and 
envious,  grinding,  and  grudging,  (such  a  temper  of 
mind  is  often  expressed  bv  an  evil  eye,  ch.  20.  15. 
Mark  ~.  22.  Prov.  23.  6,  7.)  the  bodij  fjilt  he  full  of 
darkness,  the  whole  conversation  will  be  he.athenisli 
and  unchristian.  The  instruments  of  the  churl  are 
and  always  will  be  ex'il,  but  the  liberal  deviseth  libera! 
things,  Isa.  32.  5 — 8.  If  the  light  that  is  in  us,  those 
affections  which  should  guide  us  to  that  which  is 
good,  be  darkness,  if  these  be  corrupt  and  worldly, 
if  there  be  not  so  much  as  good  nature  in  a  man,  not 
so  much  as  a  kind  disposition,  horj  great  is  the  cor- 
ruption of  the  man,  and  the  darkness  in  which  he 
sits  '.  This  sense  seems  to  agree  with  the  context  : 
we  must  lay  iifi  treasure  in  heaven  bv  liberalit\'  in 
giving  alms,  and  that  not  gi-udginglv  but  with  cheer- 
lulness,  Luke  12.  33.  2  Cor.  9.  7.  '  But  these  words 
in  the  parallel  place  do  not  oime  in  upon  any  such 


occasion,  Luke  11.  34.  and  therefore  the  coherence 
here  doesnot  detemiinc  that  to  be  the  sense  of  them. 

3.  IVieeye,  that  is,  the  understanding;  (so  some  ;) 
the  practical  judgment,  the  conscience,  which  is  to 
the  other  faculties  cf  the  soul,  as  the  eye  is  to  the 
body,  to  giiide  and  direct  their  motions  ;  now  if  the 
eye  be  single,  if  it  make  a  tnie  and  right  judgment, 
and  discern  things  that  diflTer,  especially  in  the  gi'cal 
concern  of  laying  up  the  treasure  so  as  to  choose 
aright  in  that,  it  will  rightly  guide  the  aflTcctions  and 
actions,  which  will  all  be  full  of  the  light  of  grace 
and  comfort ;  but  if  this  be  mil  and  cori-upt,  and  in- 
stead of  leading  tlie  inferior  ])owers,  is  led,  and 
bribed,  and  biassed  by  them,  if  this  be  erroneous  and 
misinformed,  the  heart  and  life  must  needs  be  full 
of  darkness,  and  the  whole  coinersation  cornipt 
'rliey  that  will  not  understand,  are  said  to  walk  oji 
in  darkness,  Ps.  82.  5.  It  is  sad  when  the  spirit  of 
a  man,  that  should  bc'the  candle  of  the  J.ora,  is  an 
ignis  fatuus ;  when  the  leaders  of  the  /leo/ile,  the 
leaders  of  the  faculties,  cause  them  to  <  rr,  for  then 
they  that  are  led  of  them  are  destroyed,  Isa.  9.  16.  An 
error  in  the  practical  judgment  is  fatal,  it  is  that 
which  calls  nil  good  and  good  evil ;  (Isa.  5.  20.) 
tlierefore  it  conccms  us  to  understand  things  aright, 
to  get  oui'  eyes  anointed  with  eye-sahe. 

3.  The  eye,  that  is,  the  linis  and  intentions ;  by  the 
ei/e  we  set  our  end  before  us,  the  mark  we  shoot  at, 
the  place  we  go  to,  we  keep  that  in  \icw,  and  direct 
our  motion  accordingly  ;  in  every  thing  we  do  in  re- 
ligion, there  is  something  or  other  that  we  have  ir 
our  eye  ;  now  if  our  eye  he  single,  if  we  aim  honestly, 
fix  right  ends,  and  mo\e  rightlv  towards  them,  if 
we  aim  purely  and  only  at  the  glory  of  CJod,  seek 
his  honour  and  fa\  our,  and  direct  all  entirely  to  hira 
then  the  eye  is  single:  Paul's  was  so  when  he  said 
To  me  to  live  is  Christ ;  and  if  we  be  right  here,  the 
whole  body  will  be  full  of  light,  all  the  actions  will  be 
regular  and  gi-acious,  pleasing  to  God  and  comforta- 
ble to  ourselves  :  but  if  this  eiie  he  evil,  if,  instead  of 
aiming  only  at  the  glory  cf  God,  and  our  acceptance 
with  him,  we  look  aside  at  the  applause  of  men,  and 
while  we  profess  to  honour  Ciod,  contrive  to  honour 
ourselves,  and  seek  our  own  things  under  colour  of 
seeking  the  things  of  Christ,  this  spoils  all,  the  whole 
convei-sation  will  be  pcr\ersc  and  unsteady,  and  the 
foundations  being  thus  out  of  course,  there  can  be 
nothing  but  confusion  and  eveiy  evil  nvork  in  the  su- 
perstructure. Draw  the  lines  from  the  circumfer- 
ence to  an\-  other  point  but  thp  centre,  and  they  will 
cross.  If  the  light  that  is  in  thee  be  not  onl)'  dim, 
but  darkness  itself,  it  is  a  fundamental  en-or,  and  de- 
structive to  all  that  follows.  The  end  specifies  the 
action.  It  is  of  the  last  importance  in  religion,  that, 
we  be  light  in  our  aims,  and  make  eternal  things, 
not  temporal,  our  scojie,  2  Cor.  4.  IS.  The  hypo- 
crite is  like  the  waterman,  that  looks  one  way  and 
rows  anotlier  ;  the  tnie  christian  like  the  traveller, 
that  has  his  journey's  end  in  his  eye.  The  hy])0- 
crite  soars  like  the  kite,  with  his  eye  upon  the  prey 
below,  which  he  is  ready  to  come  down  to  when  he 
has  a  fair  oppoi-tunity  ;  the  tnie  christian  soars  like 
the  lark,  higher  and  higher,  forgetting  the  things 
that  are  beneath. 

III.  ^\■e  must  take  heed  of  hypocrisy  and  worldly- 
mindcdness  in  choosing  the  master  we  serve,  i'.  24. 
.\'o  man  can  serine  t',i'o  masters.  Scning  tieo  mas- 
ters is  contraiy  to  the  single  eye  ;  for  the  eye  will  be 
to  the  master's  hand,  Ps.  123.  1,2.  Our  Lord  Jesus 
here  exposes  the  cheat  which  those  put  upon  their 
own  souls,  who  think  to  divide  between  God  and  the 
world,  to  have  a  treasure  on  earth  and  a  treasure  in 
heaven  too  ;  please  God  and  please  men  too.  WTiy 
not  ?  savs  the  hvpocrite  ;  it  is  good  to  ha\e  two  string^ 
to  one's  bow.  They  hope  to  make  their  religion  serve 
their  secular  interest,  and  so  turn  to  account  both 
ways.    The  pretending  mother  was  for  dividing  the 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


child  :  the  Samaritans  will  compound  between  God 
and  idols.  No,  says  Christ,  this  will  not  do ;  it  is 
but  a  supposition  that  gain  is  godliness,  1  Tim.  6.  5. 
Here  is, 

1.  A  general  maxim  laid  down  ;  it  is  likely  it  was 
a  proverb  among  the  Jews,  ^Vb  man  can  seme  two 
masters,  much  less  two  gods ;  for  their  commands 
will  some  time  or  other  cross  or  contradict  one  ano- 
ther, and  their  occasions  interfere.  While  two  mas- 
ters go  together,  a  servant  may  follow  them  both  •, 
but  when  they  part,  you  will  see  to  which  he  be- 
longs ;  he  cai'inot  love,  and  observe,  and  cleave  to 
both  as  he  should.  If  to  the  one,  not  to  the  other  ; 
either  this  or  that  must  be  comparatively  hated  and 
despised.  This  truth  is  plain  enough  in  common 
cases. 

2.  The  application  of  it  to  the  business  in  hand. 
Ye  cannot  serve  God  and  Aluminon.  JManunon  is  a 
Syriac  word,  that  signifies  gain ;  so  that  whatever  in 
this  world  is,  or  is  accounted  by  us  to  be,  gain,  (Phil. 
3.  7. )  is  mammon.  '  Whatever  is  in  the  ivorld,  the  hist 
of  the  Jlesh,  the  lust  of  the  eye,  and  the  pride  of  life, 
is  7nammon.  To  some  their  belly  is  their  mammon, 
and  they  serve  that;  (Phil.  3.  19.)  to  others  their 

'  ease,  their  sleep,,  their  sports  and  pastimes  are  their 
mammon;  (Prov.  6.  9.)  to  others  worldly  riches; 
(James  4.  13. )  to  others  honours  and  preferments  ; 
the  praise  and  applause  of  men  was  the  Pharisees' 
mammon  ;  in  a  word,  self,  the  unity  in  which  the 
world's  trinity  centres,  sensual,  secular  self,  is  the 
mammon  which  cannot  be  served  in  conjunction  with  j 
God ;  for  if  it  be  served,  it  is  in  competition  with 
him  and  in  contradiction  to  him.  He  does  not  say. 
We  must  not  or  we  should  not,  but  we  cannot,  serve 
God  and  Mammon  ;  we  cannot  love  both  ;  (1  John 
2.  15.  Jam.  4.  4. )  or  hold  to  both,  or  hold  by  both  in 
observance,  obedience,  attendance,  trust,  and  depen- 
dence, for  they  are  contrary,  the  one  to  the  other. 
God  savs,  jMy  son,  gi^^'e  me  thy  heart.  JMammori 
says,  "  No,  give  it  me."  God  says.  Be  content  with 
such  things  as  ye  have.  Mammon  says,  "  Grasp  at 
all  that  e\'er  thou  canst.  liem,  rem,  ijuocunyue  modo 
rem — Money,  money;  l)y  fair  means  or  by  foul,  mo- 
ney. "  God  says.  Defraud  not,  nexer  lie,  be  honest 
and  just  in  all  thy  dealings.  Manunon  s-a.ys,  "Cheat 
thy  own  father,  if  thou  canst  gain  bv  it. "  God  says. 
Be  charitable.  Mainmon  says,  "  H'old  thy  own,  this 
giving  undoes  us  all."  God  says,  Be  careful  for  no- 
thinsf.  J\[ammon  says,  "Be  careful  for  everything." 
Goi  says,  Keejt  holy  the  Sabbath-day.  Mammon 
says,  "Make  use  of  that  day  as  well  as  any  other 
for  the  world. "  Thus  inconsistent  are  the  commands 
of  God  and  Mammon,  so  that  we  cannot  serve  both. 
Let  us  not  then  halt  between  God  and  Baal,  but 
choose  ye  this  day  whom  ye  will  serve,  and  abitle  by 
your  choice. 

25.  Therefore  I  say  unto  you,  Take  no 
thought  for  your  life,  what  yc  shall  eat,  or 
what  ye  shall  drink  ;  nor  yet  for  yoiu-  body, 
what  ye  shall  put  on.  Is  not  the  life  more 
than  meat,  and  the  body  than  raiment  ? 
26.  Behold  the  fowls  of  the  air :  for  they 
sow  not,  neither  do  they  reap,  nor  gather 
into  barns  ;  yet  your  heavenly  Father  feed- 
eth  them.  Are  ye  not  much  better  than 
they  ?  27.  Which  of  you  by  taking  thought 
can  add  one  cubit  unto  his  stature  ?  28. 
And  why  take  ye  thought  for  raiment ! 
Consider  the  lilies  of  the  field,  how  they 
grow  ;  they  toil  not,  neither  do  they  spin  : 
29.  And  yet  I  say  unto  you,  that  even 
Solomon  in  all  his  glory  was  not  arrayed 


like  one  of  these.  30.  Wherefore,  if  God 
so  clothe  the  grass  of  the  field,  which  to- 
day is,  and  to-morrow  is  cast  into  the  oven. 
shall  he  not  much  more  clothe  you,  O  ye  of 
little  faith  l  31.  Therefore  take  no  thought 
saying.  What  shall  we  eat  ?  or,  what  shah 
we  drink  1  or,  wherewithal  shall  we  be 
clothed  ?  32.  (For  after  all  these  things  do 
the  Gentiles  seek  :)  for  your  heavenly  Fa- 
ther knoweth  that  ye  have  need  of  all  these 
things.  33.  But  seek  ye  first  the  kingdom 
of  God,  and  his  righteousness ;  and  all  these 
things  shall  be  added  unto  you.  34.  Take 
therefore  no  thought  for  the  morrow :  foi 
the  morrow  shall  take  thought  for  the  things 
of  itself.  Sufficient  unto  the  day  is  the 
evil  thereof. 

There  is  scarcely  any  one  sin  against  which  our 
Lord  Jesus  more  largely  and  earnestly  wams  his  dis- 
ciples, or  against  which  he  arms  them  with  more 
variety  of  arguments,  than  the  sin  of  disquietine, 
distracting,  distiiistful  cares  about  the  things  of  this 
life,  which  are  a  bad  sign  that  both  the  treasure  and 
the  heart  are  on  the  earth  ;  and  therefore  he  thus 
largely  insists  upon  it.     Here  is, 

I.  The  prohibition  laid  down.  It  is  the  counsel 
and  command  of  the  Lord  Jesus,  that  we  take  no 
thought  about  the  things  of  this  world  ;  I  say  unto 
you.  He  says  it  as  our  Lawgiver,  and  theSove- 
i-eign  of  our  hearts ;  he  says  it  as  our  Comforter, 
and  the  Helper  of  our  joy.  ■\\'hat  is  it  that  he  says  ? 
It  is  this,  and  he  that  has  ears  to  hear,  let  him  hear  it 
Take  no  thought  for  your  life,  nor  yet  for  your  bo- 
dies ;  (j'.  25.)  Take  no  thought,  saying,  Jl'hat  shall 
we  eat?  {v.  31.)  and  again,  (x'.  34.)  Take  no  thought, 
y.),  ^£f<//»aTt — Be  not  in  care.  As  against  hypocrisy, 
so  against  worldly  cares,  the  caution  is  thrice  re- 
peated, and  yet  no  vain  repetition  :  jireccpt  must  be 
u]mn  precejtt,  and  line  ufion  line,  to  the  same  pur- 
port, and  all  little  enough  ;  it  is  a  sin  which  doth  so 
easily  beset  us.  It  intimates  how  pleasing  it  is  to 
Christ,  and  of  how  much  concern  it  is  to  ourselves, 
that  we  should  Hve  without  carefulness.  It  is  the 
repeated  command  of  the  Lord  Jesus  to  his  disci- 
ples, that  thev  should  not  divide  and  pull  in  pieces 
their  own  miiids  with  care  about  the  world.  There 
is  a  thought  conceming  the  things  of  this  life,  which 
is  not  only  lawful,  but  duty,  such  as  is  commended 
in  the  virtuous  woman,  Prov.  27.  23.  The  word  is 
used  concerning  Paul's  care  of  the  churches,  and 
Timothy's  care  for  the  state  of  souls,  2  Cor.  11.  28 
Phil.  2.  20.  .    . 

But  the  care  here  forbidden  is,  1.  A  disquieting, 
tormenting  care,  which  hun-ies  the  mind  hither  and 
thither,  and  hangs  it  in  suspense  ;  which  disturbK 
our  joy  in  God,  and  is  a  damp  upon  our  hope  in  him; 
which  breaks  the  sleejj,  and  hinders  our  enjoyment 
of  ourselves,  of  our  friends,  and  of  what  God  has 
given  us.  2.  A  distnistful,  unbelieving  thought. 
God  has  promised  to  provide  for  those  that  areliis, 
all  things  needful  for  life  as  well  as  godliness,  the 
life  that  now  is,  food  and  a  covering  ;  not  dainties, 
but  necessaries.  He  never  said,  "  They  shall  be 
feasted,  but.  Verily  they  shall  be  fed. "  Now  an  in- 
ordinate care  for  time  to  come,  and  fear  of  wanting 
those  supplies,  spring  from  a  disbelief  of  these  pro- 
mises, and  of  the  wisdom  and  goodness  of  Divine 
Providence  ;  and  that  is  the  evil  of  it.  As  to  pre- 
sent sustenance,  we  may  and  must  use  lawful  rneans 
to  get  it,  else  we  tempt  God  ;  we  must  be  diligent 
in  our  callings,  and  pi-udent  in  proportioning  our  ex- 
penses to  what  ^e  have,  and  we  must  pray  for  daily 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


73 


breu  I ;  aiitl  if  all  other  means  fail,  we  may  and  must 
ask  lelicf  of  those  that  are  al)le  to  j;i\ e  it.  He  was 
noiK-  of  the  best  of  men  that  said,  To.  heif  I  am 
ashamtd ;  (Luke  16.  3.)  as  he  was,  who  (i'.  21.) 
dnin-d  to  he  fed  tvith  the  crumbs ;  but  for  the  future, 
we  nuist  cant  our  care  ufion  God,  and  take  no 
thought,  because  it  looks  like  a  jealousy  of  God,  wlio 
knows  how  to  |;i\  e  what  we  want  when  we  know 
not  how  to  i|,et  it.  Let  our  souls  dwell  at  case  in 
him  !  This  i;racious  carelessness  is  the  same  with 
that  sleep  which  (iod  ijives  to  his  beloved,  in  oppo- 
sition to  the  worldling's  toil,  Ps.  \27.  2.  Observe 
the  cautions  here, 

(1.)  Take  no  thought  for  i/our  life.  Life  is  our 
greatest  concern  for  this  world  ;  .///  that  a  man  han 
vjilt  he  fcive  for  hix  Ife  ;  yet  take  no  thought  about 
it  [1.]  Not  about  the  conlinuauce  of  it  ;  refer  it  to 
God  to  /enift/ien  or  .shorten  it  as  he  pleases  ;  mii 
einiis  are  in  l/ii/  hand,  and  they  are  in  a  good  hand. 
[2.]  Not  about  the  coinfortn  of  this  life  ;  refer  it  to 
God  to  embitter  or  sweeten  it  as  he  pleases.  We 
must  not  be  solicitous,  no  not  about  the  necessary 
support  of  this  life,  food  and  raiment ;  these  Ciod 
has  promised,  and  therefore  we  may  more  confi- 
dently ex[)ect  ;  siiy  not.  What  shall  ive  eat  ■■'  It  is  the 
lair^uai^c  of  one  at  a  loss,  and  almost  despaii-ing  ; 
whcrea.s,  though  many  good  j)eo])le  lia\e  tlie  pros- 
pect of  little,  yet  there  arc  few  but  have  present 
sujjport. 

(2.)  'Take  no  thous^ht  for  the  morro'.v,  for  the  time 
to  come.  Be  not  solicitous  for  the  futuri-,  how  you 
shall  live  next  year,  or  when  you  arc  old,  or  \vhat 
you  shall  lea\e  behind  you.  As  wc  must  not  boast 
of  to-morrow,  so  we  must  not  care  for  to-morrow, 
or  the  events  of  it. 

IL  The  reasons  and  arguments  to  enforce  this 
prohibition.  One  would  think  the  command  of  Christ 
was  enough  to  restrain  us  from  this  foolish  sin  of  dis- 

?|uieting,  (listnistful  care,  indcpcndenth-  of  the  com- 
ort  of  o>ir  own  souls,  wliich  is  so  nearly  concerned  ; 
but  to  show  how  much  the  heart  of  Christ  is  upon 
it,  and  what  /ileasure  he  takes  in  those  that  ho/ie  in 
his  mcrci/,  the  command  is  backed  with  the  most 
powerful  arguments.  If  reason  ma\'  but  rule  us, 
surely  we  shall  ease  ourselves  of  these  thonis.  To 
free  us  from  anxious  thoughts,  and  to  expel  them, 
Christ  here  suggests  to  us  comfortinsf  thoughts,  that 
■we  may  be  filled  with  them.  It  will  be  worth  while 
to  take  pains  v/ith  our  own  hearts,  to  argue  them  out 
of  their  disquieting  cares,  and  to  make  ourselves 
ashamed  of  them.  They  may  he  weakened  by  right 
reason,  but  it  is  b\'  an  actix'e  faith  only  that  they  can 
be  overcome.     Consider  then, 

1.  Is  7iot  this  life  more  than  meat,  and  the  body 
than  raiment  ?  t.  25.  Yes,  no  doubt  it  is  ;  so  he 
says,  who  had  reason  to  understand  the  tnie  value 
of  present  things,  for  he  made  them,  he  supports 
titem,  and  supjjorts  us  by  them  ;  and  the  thing 
speaks  for  itself.  Note,  (1.)  Our  life  is  a  greater 
blessing  than  our  livelihood.  It  is  tnie,  life  cannot 
subsist  without  a  livelihood  ;  but  the  meat  and  rai- 
ment which  are  here  represented  as  inferior  to  the 
life  and  body,  are  such  as  are  for  oniament  and  de- 
light; for  abr.ut  such  we  are  apttobe  solicitous.  Meat 
and  raiment  are  in  order  to  life,  and  the  end  is  more 
noble  and  excellent  than  the  ineans.  The  daintiest 
food  and  finest  raiment  are  from  the  eart':,  but  life 
from  the  breath  of  God.  Life  is  the  lii^ht  of  mm, 
meat  is  but  the  oil  that  feeds  that  light  ;  so  that  the 
difference  between  rich  and  poor  is  very  inconside- 
rable, since,  in  the  greatest  things,  they  stand  on  the 
same  level,  and  differ  only  in  the  lesser.  (2. )  This 
is  an  encouragement  to  us  to  trust  God  for  food  and 
raiment,  and  so  to  ease  ourselves  of  all  perplexing 
cares  about  them.  God  has  given  us  life,  and  given 
us  the  body  ;  it  was  an  act  of  power,  it  was  an  act 
cf  favo'ir,  it  was  done  without  our  care  :  what  can- 

Vol.  v.— K 


not  he  do  for  us,  who  did  that — what  will  r,c  not  > 
If  we  take  cai-e  about  our  souls  and  eternity,  A^hich 
arc  more  than  the  body,  and  its  life,  wc  may  leave 
it  to  God  to  pr<n  ide  for  us  food  and  raiment,  which 
are  less.  (Jod  has  maintained  our  lives  hitherto ; 
if  sometimes  with  pulse  and  water,  that  has  an- 
swered the  end  ;  he  has  jn'otected  us  and  ke]it  us 
alive.  He  tliat  guards  us  against  the  e\ils  we  are 
exjjosed  to,  will  s\ip])lv  us  with  the  i^ood  thinifs  wc 
are  in  need  of.  If  he  lad  been  ])leased  to  kdl  us, 
to  starve  us,  he  would  not  so  often  ha\  e  gix'cn  his 
angels  a  charge  concerning  us  to  keep  us. 

2.  lichold  the  fonvls  of  the  air,  and  consider  the 
lilies  of  the  ,field.  Here  is  an  argmnent  taken  from 
God's  conii'non  providence  toward  the  inferior  crea- 
tin-cs,  and  tlieir  dependence,  according  to  their  ca- 
jjacities,  upon  that  providence.  .\  fine  pass  fallei\ 
man  is  come  to,  that  he  must  be  sent  to  school  to 
the  foivls  of  the  air,  and  that  the\-  nuist  teach  him. 
Job '12.  7,  8.  ' 

(1.)  Look  ujion  the  fw.i'ls,  and  learn  to  litist  God 
for  food,  (_v.  26.)  ami  disquiet  not  yourselves  with 
thoughts  it'hat  i/ou  shall  eat. 

[1.]  Obsene  the  providence  of  (Jod  conceniing 
them.  Look  upon  them,  and  receive  instniction. 
There  are  \  arious  sorts  of  fowls ;  they  arc  inmierous, 
some  of  them  ravenous,  but  they  are  all  fed,  and  fed 
with  food  convenient  for  them' ;  it  is  rare  that  any 
of  them  iierish  for  want  of  food,  e\  en  in  winter,  and 
there  goes  no  little  to  feed  them  all  the  year  round 
The  fowls,  as  thov  are  least  servicea1)le  to  man,  so 
they  are  least  within  his  care  ;  men  often  feed  upon 
them,  but  seldom  feed  them  ;  yet  they  are  fed,  we 
know  not  how,  and  some  of  them  fed  best  in  the 
hardest  weather:  and  it  is  uour  heavenly  Father  'hat 
feeds  them;  he  knows  all  the  wild  fowls  of  the 
mountains,  Ijctter  than  you  know  the  tame  ones  at 
vour  own  l)ani-door,  Ps.  50.  11.  Not  a  sparrow 
lights  to  the  ground,  to  pick  up  a  grain  of  com,  but 
In*  the  providence  of  God,  which  extends  itself  to 
the  meanest  creatures.  But  that  which  is  especially 
obser\ed  here  is,  that  they  are  fed  without  any  care 
or  ])roject  of  their  own  ;  they  sow  not,  neither  do  they 
rea/i,  nor  gather  into  bai-ns.  The  ant  indeed  does, 
antl  the  Ijce,  and  they  are  set  before  us  as  examples 
of  prudence  and  industiy  ;  but  the  fowls  of  the  air 
do  not ;  they  make  no  pi-o\ision  tor  the  future  them- 
selves, and  Vet  even-  day,  as  dul\-  as  the  da)-  comes, 
proxision  is  made  for  them,  and  their  eyes  nail  on 
God,  that  great  and  good  Housekeeper,  who  pro- 
vides food  for  all  flesh. 

[2.]  Improve  this  for  your  encouragement  to  tnist 
in  God.  Jre  ye  not  much  better  than  they  ?  Yes, 
certainly  you  are.  Note,  The  heirs  of  heaven  are 
much  better  than  the  fowls  of  hea\en  ;  nobler  and 
more  excellent  beings,  and,  by  faith,  they  soar  high- 
er ;  they  are  of  a  better  nature  and  nurture,  wiser 
than  the  fowls  of  heaven  :  (Job  35.  11.)  though  the 
children 'of  this  w-orld,  that  know  not  the  judgment 
of  the  Lord,  are  not  so  wise  as  the  stork,  and  the 
crane,  and  the  swallow,  (Jer.  8.  7.)  you  are  dearer 
to  God,  and  nearer,  though  they  fly  in  the  open  fir- 
mament of  heaven.  He  is  their  Maker  and  Lord, 
their  Owner  and  Master  ;  but  beside  all  this,  he  is 
your  Father,  and  in  his  accoimt  ye  are  of  more  va- 
lue than  manu  sparrows  ;  you  arc  his  children,  his 
first  bom  ;  now  he  that  feeds  his  birds  surely  will 
not  star\'e  his  babes.  They  trtist  your  Father's 
pi-ovidence,  and  will  not  ynu  trtist  it  .>  In  depen- 
dence upon  that,  they  are  careless  for  the  mon-ow  ; 
and  being  so,  thev  Ii\-e  the  merriest  lives  of  all  crea- 
tures, tTiey  sing  among  the  branches,  (Ps.  104.  12.) 
and,  to  the  best  of  their  powei-,  they  praise  their 
Creator.  If  we  were,  by  faith,  as  unconcerned 
about  the  morrow  as  they  are,  we  should  sing  as 
checrfidly  as  they  do  ;  for  it  is  worldly  care  that 


74 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VI. 


mars  our  mirth,  and  damps  our  joy,  and  silences  our 
praise,  as  much  as  any  thing. 

(2. )  Loolc  upon  the  H/ics,  and  leam  to  trust  God 
foi-  raiment.  I'hat  is  another  part  of  our  care,  iv/iat 
ive  .shall  /ml  on  ;  for  decency,  to  cover  us  ;  for  de- 
fe.n'-.e,  to  keep  us  warm  ;  yea,  and,  with  many,  for 
dijiity  and  ornament  to  make  tliem  look  gi-eat  and 
fine  ;  and  so  much  concemed  are  they  for  gaiety  and 
variety  in  their  clotliing,  that  this  care  returns  almost 
as  oftcfn  as  that  for  their  daily  bread.  Now  to  ease 
us  of  this  care,  let  us  consider  the  lilies  of  the  Jield  ; 
not  only  hole  ujion  tliem,  (every  eye  does  that  with 
pleasure,)  but  consider  them.  Note,  Tliere  is  a  great 
deal  of  good  to  be  learned  from  what  we  see  ever>' 
day,  if  we  would  but  consider  it,  Prov.  6.  6. — 24.  32. 
[1.]  Consider  how  yro;7  tlie  lilies  are;  tliey  are 
the  erass  of  the  field.  Lilies,  tliougli  distingiuslied 
by  their  colours,  are  still  but  grass.  Thus  all  flesh 
is  g-rass,  though  some  in  the  endowments  of  body 
and  mind  are  as  lilies,  much  admired,  still  they  are 
grass  ;  the  grass  of  the  field  in  nature  and  constitu- 
tion :  tliey  stand  upon  the  same  level  with  others. 
Man's  days,  at  best,  are  as  grass,  as  the  fionver  of 
the  grass,  1  Pet.  1.  24.  This  grass  to-day  is,  and 
to-morrow  is  cast  into  the  oven  ;  in  a  litvle  while  the 
place  that  knows  us,  will  /enow  us  no  more.  The 
grave  is  the  o\en  into  wliicli  we  sliall  be  cast,  and 
in  whicli  we  shall  be  consumed  as  grass  in  tlie  fire, 
Ps.  49.  14.  This  intimates  a  reason  why  we  should 
not  take  thought  for  tlie  morrow,  what  we  shall  put 
on,  because  perhaps,  by  to-morrow,  we  may  have 
occasion  for  our  grave-clothes. 

[2.  ]  Consider  how  free  from  care  the  lilies  are  : 
they  toil  not  as  men  do,  to  earn  clotliing  ;  as  ser- 
vants, to  earn  their  liveries  ;  neither  do  they  spin,  as 
women  do,  to  make  clothing.  It  does  not  follow  that 
we  must,  tlierefore,  neglect,  or  do  carelessly,  the 
proper  business  of  this  life  ;  it  is  the  praise  of  tlie 
virtuous  woman,  that  she  lays  her  hand  to  the  sfiindle, 
makes  fine  linen,  and  sells  it,  Prov.  31.  19,  24. 
Idleness  tem/its  God,  instead  of  trusting  him  ;  but 
he  tliat  provides  for  the  inferior  creatures,  witliout 
their  labour,  will  much  more  provide  for  us,  by 
blessing  our  labour,  which  he  has  made  our  duty. 
And  if  we  should,  through  sickness,  be  unable  to 
toil  and  s/iin,  God  can  funiish  us  with  what  is  neces- 
san'  for  us. 

f3.]  Consider  how  fair,  how  ^«e  the  lilies  are  ; 
how  they  grow  ;  what  they  grow  from.  The  root 
of  tlie  lily  or  tulip,  as  other  bulbous  roots,  is,  in  the 
winter,  lost  and  buried  under  ground,  yet,  when 
spring  returns,  it  appears,  and  starts  up  in  a  little 
time  ;  hence  it  is  promised  to  God's  Israel,  that  they 
shall  grow  as  the  lily,  Hos.  14.  5.  Consider  what 
they  grow  to.  Out  of  that  obscurity  in  a  few  weeks 
they  come  to  be  so  xevy  gay,  that  even  Solomon,  in 
all  his  glory,  was  not  arrayed  like  one  of  these.  The 
array  of  Solomon  was  very  splendid  and  magnifi- 
cent :  he  that  had  the  peculiar  treasure  of  kings  and 
provinces,  and  so  studiously  affected  pomji  and  gal- 
lantry, doubtless  had  the  richest  clothing,  and  the 
best  made  up,  that  could  be  got ;  especially  when  he 
appeared  in  his  glory  on  high  days.  And  yet,  let 
him  dress  himself  as  fine  as  he  could,  he  comes  far 
short  of  the  beauty  of  the  lilies,  and  a  bed  of  tulips 
outshines  him.  I>et  us,  therefore,  be  more  ambitious 
of  the  wi-idoKi  of  Solomon,  in  which  he  was  outdone 
by  none  ;  wisdom  to  do  our  duty  in  our  places,  ra- 
ther than  the  glory  of  Solomon,  in  which  he  was 
outdone  by  the  lilies.  Knowledge  and  grace  are  the 
perfection  of  man,  not  beauty,  much  less  fine  clothes. 
Now  God  is  here  said  thus  to  clothe  the  grass  of  the 
afield.  Note,  All  the  excellences  of  the  creature 
flow  from  God,  the  Fountain  and  Spring  of  them.  It 
■W8  s  he  that  ga\e  the  horse  his  strength,  and  the  lily 
its  beauty  ;  every  creature  is  in  itself,  as  wall  as  to 
us,  what  he  makes  it  to  be. 


[4.]  Consider  how  instructive  all  t'*'is  is  to  us.  V 

30. 

First,  As  to  fine  clothing;  this  teaches  us  not  trA 
care  for  it  at  all,  not  to  covet  it,  nor  to  be  proud  ol   ! 
it,  not  to  make  the  putting  on  of  apparel  our  adorn 
!?2g,  for  after  all  our  care  in  this  the  lilies  will  far 
outdo  us  ;  we  cannot  dress  so  fine  as  they  do,  why  ' 
then  should  we  attempt  to  vie  with  them  .■'  Theii  [ 
adorning  will  soon  perish,  and  so  will  ours  ;  they  \ 
fade — are  to-day,  and  to-morrow  are  cast,  as  other  ] 
rubbish,  into  the  oven;  and  the  clothes  we  are  proud   ' 
of  are  wearing  out,  the  gloss  is  soon  gone,  the  coioui 
fades,  the  shape  goes  out  of  fashion,  or  in  a  while 
the  gai-ment  itself  is  worn  out ;  such  is  man  in  al! 
his  pomp,  (Isa.  40.  6,  T.)  especially  inch  men  ;  (Jam. 
1.  10.)  they  fade  away  in  their  ways. 

Secondly,  As  to  necessary  clothing  ;  this  *:eaches 
us  to  cast  the  care  of  it  upon  God — Jehovah-jireh  ; 
trust  him  that  clothes  the  lilies,  to  piTA  ide  for  you 
what  you  shall  put  on.  If  he  give  such  fine  clothes 
to  the  gi-ass,  much  more  will  he  give  fitting  clothes 
to  his  own  children ;  clothes  that  shall  be  waiTU 
upon  them,  not  only  when  he  guietelh  the  earth  with 
the  south  wind,  but  when  he  disquiets  it  with  the 
jiorth  wind.  Job  37.  17.  He  shall  much  more  clothe 
you  ;  for  you  are  nobler  creatures,  of  a  more  excel- 
lent being ;  if  so  he  clothe  the  short-lived  grass, 
much  more  will  he  clothe  you  that  are  made  for  im- 
mortality. Even  the  children  of  Nineveh  are  pre- 
ferred before  the  gourd,  (Jonah  4.  10,  11.)  much 
more  the  sons  of  Zion,  that  are  in  covenant  with 
God.  Observe  the  title  he  gives  them,  (t.  SC.)  C 
ye  of  little  faith.  This  may  be  taken,  1.  As  an  en- 
couragement to  true  faith,  though  it  be  but  weak  ; 
it  entitles  us  to  the  divine  care  and  a  promise  oi 
suitable  supjjly.  Great  faith  shall  be  commended, 
and  shall  procure  gi'eat  things,  but  little  faith  shall 
not  be  rejected,  even  that  shall  procure  food  and  rai- 
ment. Sound  believers  shall  be  provided  for  though 
they  be  not  strong  believers.  The  babes  in  the  fa- 
mily are  fed  and  clothed,  as  well  as  those  that  arc 
grown  up,  and  with  a  F])ecial  care  and  tenderness  ; 
.say  not  I  am  but  a  child,  but  a  dry  tree,  (Isa.  56.  3, 
5.)  for  though  poor  aiut  needy,  yet  the  Lord  thinketh 
on  thee.  Or,  2.  it  is  rather  a  rebuke  to  weak  faith, 
though  it  be  tiiie,  ch.  14.  31.  It  intimates  what  is 
at  the  bottom  of  all  our  inordinate  care  and  thought- 
fulness  ;  it  is  owing  to  the  weakness  of  cur  faith, 
and  the  remains  of  unbelief  in  us.  If  we  had  but 
more  faith,  we  should  ha\e  less  care. 

3.  Uliich  of  you,  the  wisest,  the  strongest  of  you, 
by  taking  thought,  can  add  one  cubit  to  his  stature  ? 
(i'.  27.)  to  his  age,  so  some;  but  the  measure  of  a 
cubit  denotes  it  to  be  meant  of  the  stature,  and  th< 
age  at  longest  is  but  a  span,  Ps.  39.  5.  Let  us  con- 
sider, (1.)  We  did  not  arrive  at  the  stature  we  are 
of,  by  our  own  care  and  thought,  but  by  the  provi- 
dence of  God.  An  infant  of  a  span  long  is  grown  up 
to  be  a  man  of  six  feet,  and  how  was  one  cubit  after 
another  added  to  his  stature  ?  Not  bv  his  own  fore- 
cast or  contrivance  ;  lie  grew  he  knew  not  how,  by 
the  power  and  goodness  of  Grd.  Now  he  that  made 
our  bodies  and  made  them  of  such  a  size,  surely  will 
take  care  to  provide  for  them.  Note,  Gcd  is  to  be 
acknowledged  in  the  increase  of  our  bodily  strength 
and  stature,  and  to  be  tnistcd  for  all  needful  sup- 
plies, because  he  has  made  it  to  apiiear,  that  he  is 
for  the  body.  The  growing  age  is  the  thoughtless, 
careless  age,  yet  we  grow  ;  and  shall  not  he  wh' 
reared  us  to  this,  provide  for  us  now  we  are  reared . 
(2.)  We  cannot  alter  the  stature  we  are  of,  if  we 
would  :  what  a  foolish  and  ridiculous  thin?  would  it 
be,  for  a  man  of  low  stature  to  peiplex  himself,  to 
break  his  sleep,  and  beat  his  brains,  about  it,  and  to 
be  continually  taking  thought  how  he  niipht  be  a 
cubit  higher  ;  when,  after  all,  he  knows  he  cannot 
effect  it,  and  therefore  he  had  better  be  content  and 


ST.  MATTHEW,  Vi. 


75 


tiike  it  ;is  it  is  ?  We  arc  not  all  of  a  size,  yet  the  dif-  1 
ferencc  in  stature  between  one  and  another  is  not 
material,  nor  of  ;uiy  great  account ;  a  little  man  is 
really  to  wish  he  were  as  tall  as  such  a  one,  but  lie 
knows  il  is  to  no  purpose,  and  thercfoiv  does  as  well 
as  he  c;ui  with  it.  Isow  as  we  do  in  reference  to  our 
bodily  stature,  so  we  should  do  in  reference  to  our 
worldly  estate.  [1.]  We  should  not  co\  et  an  abun- 
dance of  the  wealth  of  this  world,  any  more  than  we 
would  covet  the  addition  of  a  cul)it  to  one's  stature, 
which  is  a  great  deal  in  a  man's  lieii^ht ;  it  is  enough 
to  grow  by  inches  ;  such  an  addition  would  but  make 
one  unwieldy,  and  a  burden  to  one's  self.  ['2.1  \\'c 
must  reconcile  ourselves  to  our  state,  as  we  do  to 
our  .stature  ;  we  must  set  the  conveniences  against 
the  inconveniences,  and  so  make  a  virtue  of  necessi- 
ty :  what  cannot  l)e  remedied  nuist  be  made  the 
best  of.  We  cannot  alter  the  disi)osals  of  Provi- 
clence,  and  therefore  nuist  acquiesce  in  them,  ac- 
commodate oui-selves  to  them,  and  reliev  e  ourselves, 
as  well  as  we  can,  against  inconx  eniences,  as  Zac- 
cheus  ag^nst  the  inconvenience  of  his  stature,  b_v 
climbing  into  the  tree. 

4.  .!/!<•>■  lilt  llicsf  //iing:i  do  the  Gmtiles seek,  v.  32. 
Thoughtfulness  about  the  world  is  a  lifalhatixh  sin, 
and  unbecoming  c/irkfiun.t.  The  Clcnlilcs  seek  tlusc 
things,  because  they  know  not  better  things ;  they 
are  eager  for  this  woi-ld,  l)ecau.se  they  are  strangers 
to  a  better  ;  they  seek  these  things  with  care  and 
anxiet)',  because  they  arc  •mithoitt  God  in  the  ni'orld, 
and  understand  not  his  i)ro\  idence.  'rhe\-  fear  and 
worship  their  idols,  l)ut  know  not  how  to  trust  them 
for  deliverance  and  supply,  and,  therefore,  arc 
themselves  full  of  care  ;  but  it  is  a  shame  for  chris- 
tians, who  build  upon  nobler  principles,  and  profess 
a  religion  which  teaches  them,  not  only  that  there 
is  a  Providence,  but  that  tliere  are  promises  made 
to  the  good  of  the  life  that  now  is,  which  teaches 
them  a  confidence  in  (iod  and  a  contempt  of  the 
world,  and  gi\es  such  reasons  for  both  ;  it  is  a  shame 
for  them  to  walk  as  Clentiles  walk,  and  to  fill  their 
heads  and  hearts  with  these  things. 

5.  Your  heavenly  Father  knows  ye  have  ?ieed  of 
all  these  things  ;  these  necessai-y  things,  food  and 
raiment ;  he  knows  our  wants  better  than  we  do 
oui-selves  ;  though  he  be  in  heaven,  and  his  children 
on  earth,  he  observes  what  the  least  and  poorest  of 
them  has  occasion  for,  (Kev.  2.  9.)  I knoiv  thy  /lo- 
verty.  Vou  think,  if  such  a  good  friend  did  but 
know  your  wants  and  straits,  you  should  soon  have 
relief;  your  God  knows  them;  and  he  is  your 
Father  that  loves  you  and  [jities  you,  and  is  ready 
to  help  you  ;  your  hea\  enly  Father,  who  has  where- 
withal to  sup])ly  all  your  needs  :  awav,  therefore, 
with  all  disquieting  thoughts  and  care's  ;  go  to  thv 
Father;  tell  him,  he  knows  thou  hast  need  of  such 
and  such  things ;  he  asks  \-ou,  Children,  have  you 
any  meat  ?  John  21.  5.  Tell  him  whether  you  have 
or  not.  Though  he  knows  our  wants,  he  will  know 
them  from  us  ;  and  when  we  ha\e  opened  them  to 
him,  let  us  cheerfuU)-  refer  ourselves  to  his  wisdom, 
power,  and  .goodness,  for  our  supplw  Therefore, 
we  should  ease  ourselves  of  the  burden  of  care,  by 
casting  it  upon  God,  because  it  is  he  that  careth  for 
us,  (1  Pet.  5.  7.)  and  what  needs  all  this  ado  ?  If  he 
care,  why  should  we  care  ? 

6.  Seek  first  the  kingdom  of  God,  and  his  righte- 
ousness, and  all  these  things  shall  be  added  unto  you, 
V.  33.  Here  is  a  double  argument  against  the  sin  of 
thoughtfulness ;  take  no  thought  for  your  life,  the 
life  of  the  body  ;  for,  ( 1. )  You  have  greater  and  bet- 
ter things  to  'take  thought  abr.jt ;  the  life  of  your 
soul,  vour  eternal  happiness  ;  that  is  the  one  thing 
needful,  (Luke  10.  42.)  about  which  you  should  em- 
ploy your  thoughts,  and  which  is  commonly  ne- 
l^lected,  in  those  hearts  v;herein  worldly  cares  have 
the  ascendant.     If  we  were  but  more  careful  to 


please  God,  and  to  work  out  our  own  salvation,  w 
should  be  less  solicitous  to  please  ourselves,  and 
work  out  an  estate  in  the  world.  'l'houj;htfiilnesa 
for  our  souls,  is  the  most  effectual  cure  of  thought- 
fulness for  the  world.  (2.)  Vou  have  a  surer  and 
easier,  a  safer  and  a  more  compendii  us  wa\'  to  ob- 
tain the  necessaries  of  this  life,  than  l)y  barking,  and 
caring,  and  fretting  al)out  them  ;  and  that  is,  »y 
seeking  first  the  kingdom  of  God,  and  making  re- 
ligion your  business  ;  say  not  that  this  is  the  way  to 
starve,  no,  it  is  the  way  to  be  well  provided  for,  even 
in  this  world.     (Observe  here, 

[1.]  The  great  duty  req\iired  ;  it  is  the  smn  and 
substance  of  om'  whole  dvity.     "  S'-ek first  the  king- 
dom of  God  ;  mind  religion  as  your  great  and  prin- 
cijjal  concern  :"  our  duty  is  to  seek  ;  to  desire,  ])ur 
sue,  and  aim  at  these  things ;  it  is  a  word  that  haj 
in  it  much  of  the  constitution  of  the  new  covenant  in 
fa\our  of  us  ;  though  we  have  not  attained,  but  in 
many  things  fail,  and  come  short,  sincere  seeking,  a 
careful  concern  and  earnest  endca\our,  are  accept- 
ed.    Kow  obsene,  First,  The  object  of  this  seek- 
ing ;   7'he  kingdom  of  God,  and  his  righteousness  ; 
we  nuist  mind  heaven  as  our  end,  and  holiness  as 
our  way.     "  Seek  the  comforts  of  the  kingdom  of 
grace  and  glory  as  )  our  felicity  ;  aim  at  the  king- 
dom of  heax'en  ;  press  towards  it,  give  diligence  to 
make  it  sure  ;  resoh  e  not  to  take  up  short  of  it  ; 
seek  for  this  glory,  honour,  artd  immortality  ;  pre- 
fer hea\  en  and  heavenly  blessings  far  before  earth 
and  earthly   delights."    We  make  nothing  of  our 
religion,  if  we  do  not  make  heaven  of  it.     And  with 
the  ha/i/ii7u-ss  of  this  kingdom,  seek  the  righteous- 
ness of  it  ;  God's  righteousness,   the  righteousness 
which  he  requires  to  be  wrought  in  us,  and  wrought 
by  us,  such  as  exceeds  that  of  the  Scribes  and  Plia- 
risees  ;  we  must  follow  peace  and  holiness,  Heb.  12. 
14.    Secondly,  The  order  oi  n.    Seek  first  the  king- 
dom  of  God.     Let  your  care  for  your  souls  and  ano- 
ther world,  take  place  of  all  other  cares  :  and  let 
all  the  concerns  of  this  life  be  made  subordinate  to 
those  of  the  life  to  come  :  we  must  seek  the  things 
of  Christ  more  than  our  own  things  ;  and  if  ever 
thcv  come  in  competition,  we  must  remember  to 
which  we  are  to  gi\e  the  preference.     " Seek  these 
things  ^rs/ ;  first  in  thy  days,  let  the  moming  of 
youth   be  dedicated  to  God.      Wisdom    must  be 
sought  early  ;  it  is  good  beginning  betimes  to  be  re- 
ligious.     Seek    this   first  every  day  ;    let  waJiing 
thoughts  be  of  God."    Let  this'be  our  principle,  to 
do  that  first  which  is  most  needful,  and  let  him  tliat 
is  the  First,  have  the  first. 

[2.]  The  gi-acicus  ])romise  annexed  ;  all  these 
things,  the  necessary  supports  of  life,  shall  be  added 
unto  you  ;  shall  be  gh'en  over  and  above  ;  so  it  is 
in  the  margin.  You  shall  have  what  \ou  seek,  the 
kingdojn  of  God  and  his  righteousness,  for  never  any 
sought  in  vain,  that  sought  in  earnest ;  and  besides 
that,  you  shall  have  food  and  raiment,  by  way  of 
ovei-plus  ;  as  he  that  buys  goods  has  paper  and 
I  packthread  given  him  into  the  bargain.  Godliness 
has  the  promise  of  the  life  that  now  is,  1  Tim.  4.  8. 
Solomon  asked  wisdom,  and  had  that  and  other 
things  added  to  him,  2  Chron.  1.  11,  12.  O  what 
a  blessed  change  would  it  make  in  our  hearts  and 
lives,  did  we  but  firmly  believe  this  tnith,  that  the 
best  way  to  be  comfortably  provided  for  in  this 
world,  is  to  be  most  intent  upon  another  world  !  ^^'e 
then  begin  at  the  right  end  of  our  work,  when  we 
begin  with  God.  If  we  give  diligence  to  make  sure 
to  ourselves  the  kingdom  of  God  and  the  righteou,s- 
ness  thereof,  as  to  ail  the  things  of  this  hfe,  jehovah- 
jirch — the  Lord  will  provide  as  much  of  them  as  he 
sees  good  for  us,  and  more  we  would  not  wish  for. 
Have  we  trusted  him  for  the  /lorlion  of  our  inheri- 
tance at  our  end,  and  shall  we  not  trost  him  for  the 
ftortion  of  our  cufi,  in  the  way  to  it .'  God's  Israel 


76 


ST.  MATTHEW,  Vll. 


were  not  only  brought  to  Canaan  at  last,  but  had 
their  charges  borne  tlirouRh  the  wilderness.  O 
that  we  were  more  thoughtful  about  the  things  that 
are  not  seen,  that  are  eternal,  and  then  the  less 
thoughtful  we  should  be,  and  the  less  thoughtful  we 
should  need  to  be,  about  the  things  that  are  seen, 
that  are  tempoi-al !  Also  regard  not  your  stuff.  Gen. 
45.  20,  23. 

7.  The  Tnorrotv  shall  take  thought  for  the  things 
of  itself;  sufficient  unto  the  day  is  the  ei'il  thereof,  t. 
34.  We  must  not  perplex  ourselves  inordinately 
about  future  events,  because  every  day  brings  along 
with  it  its  own  burden  of  cares  and  gi-ievances,  as 
if  we  look  about  us,  and  suffer  not  our  fears  to  be- 
tray the  succours  which  grace  and  reason  offer,  it 
brings  along  with  it  its  own  strength  and  supply  too. 
So  that  we  are  here  told, 

(1.)  That  thoughtfulness  for  the  morrow  is  need- 
less; let  the  morroiv  take  thought  for  the  things  of 
itself  If  wants  and  troubles  be  renewed  with  the 
day,  there  are  aids  and  provisions  renewed  like- 
wise ;  com/iassions,  that  are  new  ei'ery  morning. 
Lam.  3.  22.  The  saints  have  a  Friend  that  is  their 
arm  every  morning,  and  gives  out  fresh  supply 
daily,  (Isa.  33.  2.)  according  us  the  business  of  ex'ejy 
day  requires  ;  (Ezra  3.  4.)  and  so  he  keeps  his  peo- 
ple in  a  constant  dependence  upon  him.  Let  us  re- 
fer it  therefore  to  the  morrow  s  strength,  to  do  the 
morrow's  work,  and  bear  the  morrow's  burden. 
To-morrow,  and  the  things  of  it,  will  be  provided 
for  without  us  ;  why  need  we  thus  anxiously  care 
for  that  which  is  so  wisely  cared  for  already  ?  This 
does  not  forbid  a  prudent  foresight,  and  preparation 
accordingly,  biit  a  pei-plexing  solicitude,  and  a  pi-e- 
possession  of  difficulties  and  calamities,  which  may 

gerhaps  never  come,  or  if  they  do,  may  be  easily 
ome,  and  the  evil  of  them  guarded  against.  The 
meaning  is,  let  us  mind  present  dutii,  and  then  leave 
events  to  God;  do  the  loork  of  the  day  in  its  day, 
and  then  let  to-jnorroiv  bring  its  work  along  with  it. 
(2.)  That  thoughtfulness  for  the  morrow  is  one  of 
those  fttolish  and  hurtful  lusts,  which  they  that  will 
be  rich  fall  into,  and  one  of  the  many  sorrows, 
wherewith  they  fiierce  themselves  through.  Suffi- 
cient unto  the  day  is  the  ez'il  thereof.  This  present 
day  has  trouble  enough  attending  it,  we  need  not  ac- 
cumulate burdens  by  antici/iating  onr  trouble,  nor 
borrow  perplexities  from  to-morrow's  evils  to  add 
to  those  of  this  day.  It  is  uncertain  what  to-mor- 
row's evils  may  be,  but  whatever  they  be,  it  is  time 
enough  to  take  thought  about  them  when  they  come. 
What  a  folly  is  it  to  take  that  trouble  upon  ourselves 
this  day  by  care  and  fear,  wliich  belongs  to  another 
day,  and  will  be  never  the  lighter  when  it  comes  ? 
Let  us  not  pvill  that  upon  ourselves  all  together  at 
once,  which  Providence  has  wisely  ordered  to  be 
borne  by  parcels.  The  conclusion  of  this  whole 
matter  then  is,  that  it  is  the  will  and  command  of 
the  Lord  Jesus,  that  his  disciples  should  not  be  their 
own  tormentors,  nor  make  their  passage  through 
this  world  more  dark  and  unpleasant,  by  their  ap- 
prehensions of  troubles,  than  God  has  made  it,  by 

the  troubles  themselves.     By  our  daily  prayers  we 
may  procure  strength  to  bear  us  up  under  our  daily 

troubles,  and  to  arm  us  against  the  temptations  that 

attend  them,  and  then  let  none  of  these  things  move 

us. 

CHAP.  VII. 

This  chapter  continues  and  concludes  Christ's  sermon  on  the 
mount,  which  is  purely  practical,  directing  us  to  order  our 
conversation  ari2;ht,  both  toward  God  and  man  ;  for  the 
design  of  the  christian  reliffion  is  to  make  men  good,  every 
way  good.  We  have,  I.  Some  rules  concerning  censure 
and  reproof,  v.  1 .  .  6.  II.  Encouragements  given  us  to 
pray  to  God  for  what  we  need,  v.  7. .  1 1.  III.  The  neces- 
sity of  strictness  in  conversation  urued  upon  us,  v.  13,  14. 
IV.  A  caution  given  us  U>  take  heed  of  false  prophets,  v. 


15 .  .  20.  V.  The  conclusion  of  the  whole  sermon,  showmg 
the  necessity  of  universal  obedience  to  Clnisl's  commands, 
without  which  we  cannot  expect  to  be  happy,  v.  i"  . .  27. 
VI.  The  impression  which  Christ's  doctrine  made  upon 
his  hearers,  v.  28,  29. 

1.  XUDGE  not,  that  ye  be  not  judged. 
99     2.   For  with   what   jndgment  ye 
judge,  ye  shall  be  judged:  and  with  what 
measure  ye  mete,  it  shall  be  measured  to 
you  again.     3.  And  why  bcholdest  thou 
the  mote  that  is  in  tliy  brother's  eye,  but 
considerest  not  the  beam  that  is  in  thine 
own  eye ?    4.  Or  how  wWi  thou  say  to  thy 
brother,  Let  me  pull  out  the  mote  out  of 
thine  eye :  and,  behold,  a  beam  is  in  thine 
own  eye  ?     5.  Thou  hypocrite,  first  cast 
out  the  beam  out  of  thine  own  eye  -,  and 
then  shall  thou  see  clearly  to  cast  out  the 
mote  out  of  thy  brother's  eye.    6.  Give  not 
that  which  is  holy  unto  the  dogs,  neither 
cast  ye  your  pearls  before  swine,  lest  they 
trample  them  under  their  feet,  and  turn 
again  and  rend  j'ou. 

Our  Saviour  is  here  directing  us  how  to  conduct 
ourselves  in  reference  to  the  faults  of  others ;  and 
his  expressions  seem  intended  as  a  reproof  to  the 
Scribes  and  Pharisees,  who  were  ^■ery  rigid  and  se- 
A'ere,  very  magisterial  and  supercilious,  in  condemn- 
ing all  about  them,  as  those  commonly  are,  that  are 
proud  and  conceited  in  justifying  themselves.  We 
have  here, 

I.  A  caution  against  judging,  v.  1,  2.  There  are 
those  whose  office  it  is  to  judge — magistrates  and 
ministers.  Christ,  though  he  made  jiot  himself  a 
Judge,  yet  came  not  to  unmake  thern,  for  by  him 
firinces  'decree justice  ;  but  this  is  directed  to  private 
persons,  to  his  disciples,  who  shall  hereafter  sit  on 
thrones  judging,  but  not  now.     Now  observe, 

1.  The  prohibition  ;  Judge  not :  We  must  judge 
ourselves,  and  judge  of  our  own  acts,  but  we  must 
not  judge  our  brother,  not  magisterially  assume  such 
an  authoritv  over  others,  as  we  allow  not  them  over 
us ;  since  our  rule  is,  to  be  subject  to  one  another. 
Be  not  many  masters,  Jam.  3.  1.     We  must  not  sit 
in  the  judgment-seat,  to  make  our  word  a  law  to 
every  body.     We  must  not  judge  our  brother,  that 
is,  we  must  not  s/ieak  e^>il  of  him,  so  it  is  explained. 
Jam.  4.  11.   We  must  not  despise  him,  nor  set  him  at 
naught,  Rom.  14.  10.     ^\'e  must  not  judge  rashly.V 
nor  pass  such  a  judgment  upon  our  brother  as  has  no\ 
gi-ound,  but  is  onlv  the  product  of  our  own  jealousy  [ 
and  ill  nature,     ^^'e  must  not  make  the  worst  of   i 
people,  nor  infer  such  invidious  things  from  their 
words  and  actions  as  they  will  not  bear.     We  must 
not  judge  uncharitably,  unmercifully,  nor  with  a 
spirit  of  revenge,  and  a  desire  to  do  mischief.     We 
mtist  not  judge  of  a  man's  state  by  a  single  act,  nor  i 
of  what  he  is  in  himself  by  what  he  is  to  us,  because/ 
in  our  ovn\  cause  we  are  ajjt  to  be  partial.     Wcl 
must  not  judge  the  hearts  of  others,  nor  their  inten- 
tions, for  it  is  God's  prerogative  to  try  the  heart, ) 
and  we  must  not  step  into  his  throne ;  nor  must  we 
judge  of  their  eternal  state,  nor  call  them  hypocrites, 
reprobates,  and  castaways ;  that  is  stretching  beyond 
our  line  ;  what  have  we  to  do,  thus  to  judge  another 
man's  servant  ?  Counsel  him,  and  help  him,  but  do 
not  judge  him. 

2.  The  reason  to  enforce  this  prohibition  ;  that  ye 
be  not  judged.  This  intimates,  (1.)  That  if  we  preA 
sume  to  judge  others,  we  may  expect  to  be  ourselves 
judged.  He  who  usurps  the  bench,  shall  be  called 
to  the  bar;  he  shall  be  judged  of  men;  commonly 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VII. 


77 


none  arc  more  censured,  than  those  who  are  most 
censorious ;  every  one  will  hiivc  a  stone  to  throw  at 
them  ;  he  who,  like  Ishniael,  has  his  hiuid,  his 
tongue,  against  mH-ry  man,  sliall,  like  liini,  ha\''; 
every  man's  hand  iuid  tongue  against  him  ;  (Gen.  Iti. 
12.)  and  no  mercy  shall  be  shown  to  the  reputation 
of  those  that  show  no  mercy  to  the  reputation  cf 
others.  Yet  that  is  not  the  worst  of  it ;  they  shall  he 
judged  of  God  ;  from  him  they  shall  recei\  e  tlie 
greater  condemnation,  y,im.  3.  1.  Both  parties  nuist 
appear  before  him,  (Koni.  14.  10.)  who,  as  he  will 
relie\'e  the  /nimble  sufferer,  will  also  resist  the 
haughty  scorner,  and  give  him  enough  of  judging. 
(2.)  That  if  we  be  nnxlest  and  charitable  in  our 
censures  of  others,  and  decline  judging  them,  and 
judge  ourseUes  rather,  ive  shall  not  he  judged  of  the 
Lord.  As  God  will  forgive  those  that  forgive  their 
brethren,  so  he  will  not  judge  those  that  will  not 
judge  their  brethren  ;  tlie  merciful  shall  find  mercy. 
It  is  an  evidence  of  humility,  charity,  and  deference 
to  God,  and  shall  be  owned  and  rewarded  by  him 
•iccordin^ly.     See  Rom.  14.  10. 

The  judging  of  tliosc  that  judge  others,  is  accord- 
ing to  the  la,w  of  retaliation  ;  With  ivhal  judgment 
ye  judge,  ye  shall  he  judged,  v.  2.  The  righteous 
God,  in  his  judgments,  often  observes  a  rule  of  pro- 
portion, as  in  the  case  of  Adonibezek,  Judg.  1.  7. 
bee  also  Rev.  13.  10—18.  6.  Thus  will  he  be  both 
justified  and  magnified  in  his  judgments,  and  all  flesh 
will  be  silenced  before  him.  Jll/h  vjhut  measure  ye 
mete,  it  shall  he  measured  to  you  again  ;  ]icrhaps  in 
this  world,  so  that  men  may  read  their  sin  in  their 
punishment.  Let  this  deter  us  from  all  scxerity  in 
dealing  with  o\ir  brother.  What  then  shall  -ve  do 
ivhen  God  rises  u/i  ?  Jnl)  31.  14.  WhaX  would  be- 
come of  us,  if  God  should  be  as  exact  and  severe  in 
judging  U.S.  as  we  arc  in  judging  our  brethren  ;  if  he 
should  weigh  us  in  the  same  Ijalance  ?  We  ma^'  justly 
expect  it,  if  we  he  extreme  to  mark  what  our  bre- 
thren do  amiss.  In  this,  as  in  other  things,  the  vio- 
lent dealings  of  men  return  ujjon  their  own  heads. 
/  II.  Scimc  cautions  ahont  re/iroving.  Because  we 
(must  not  jud;e  others,  which  is  a  gi-eat  sin,  it  does 
I  not  therefore  follow,  that  \vc  must  not  reprove 
others,  which  is  a  great  duty,  and  may  be  a  means  ! 
of  saving  a  soul  from  death  ;"  however,'  it  will  be  a 
means  of  saving'our  souls  from  sharing  in  their  guilt 
Now  observe  here, 

I.  It  is  not  every  one  who  is  fit  to  reprove.  Those 
who  are  themselves  g-iiilty  of  the  fa\ilts  of  which  thev 
accuse  others,  or  of  worse,  bring  shame  upon  them- 
selves, and  are  not  likelv  to  do  good  to  those  whom  I 
they  rejirove,  v.  " — 5.     Here  is, 

(1.)  A  just  reproof  to  the  censorious  who  quarrel 
with  their  brother  for  small  faults,  \vhile  thev  allow 
themselves  in  great  ones ;  who  are  quick-sighted  to 
spy  a  mote  in  his  eye,  but  are  not  sensible  of  a  heam 
in  their  oii'n  ;  nay,  and  will  be  vcit  officious  to  /;;;// 
out  the  mote  out  of  his  eye,  when  tlicy  are  as  unfit  to 
do  it  as  if  they  w'ere  thenisehcs  quite  blind.  Note, 
[1.]  There  are  degrees  in  sin  :  some  sins  are  com- 
parati\'el  V  but  as  motes,  while  others  are  as  beams ;  some 
&sa.gna',  otliers  as  a  r«mp/.-  not  that  there  is  any 
sin  little,  for  there  is  no  little  God  to  sin  against :  if  it 
be  a  more,  (.ir  s/ilinter.  for  so  it  might  better  be 
read,)  it  is  in  the  eye;  Xfagnat,  it  is  in  the  throat ; 
both  painful  and  perilous,  and  we  cannot  be  easy  or 
well  till  they  ai-e  got  out  [2.]  Our  own  sins  might 
to  appear  greater  to  us  than  the  same  sins  in  others  : 
that  which  charity  teaches  us  to  call  but  a  sfiim'er 
hi  our  brother's  eye,  tnie  repentance  and  godlv 
sorrow  will  teach  us  to  call  a  heam  in  our  otvn  ;  for 
the  sin  of  others  must  be  extenuated,  b\it  our  own 
aggravated.  [3.  ]  There  are  many  that  have  beams 
in  their  oivn  eyes,  and  vet  do  not  consider  it  They 
we  under  the  guilt  and  dominion  of  \erv  great  sins, 
a'ld  yet  are  not  aware  of  it,  but  justify' themselves. 


as  if  they  needed  no  repentance  nor  reformation  ;  it 
is  as  sti-,mgc  that  a  man  can  be  in  such  a  sintul, 
miserable  condition,  and  not  be  aware  of  it,  as  that 
a  num  should  have  a  beam  in  his  eye,  and  not  con- 
sider it  ;  but  the  god  of  this  world  so  artfully  blind.* 
their  minds,  that  notwithstanding,  with  great  assu- 
rance, tliey  say,  We  see.  [4.]  It  is  common  for 
those  that  are  most  sinful  themselves,  and  least  .sen 
sible  of  it,  to  be  most  forward  and  free  in  judging 
iuid  censuring  others  :  the  Pharisees,  w  ho  were  mcst 
haughty  in  justifying  themselves,  were  most  scornful 
in  condemning  others.  They  were  severe  upon 
Christ's  di.scijjles  for  eating  r.i/h  unieashcn  hands, 
which  was  scarcely  a  mote,  while  they  cnc(.uraged 
men  in  a  contempt  of  their  jjarents,  which  was  a 
heam.  Pride  and  uncharitableness  are  conmionly 
beams  in  the  e\  es  of  those  that  jnetend  to  be  critical 
and  nice  in  their  censures  of  others.  Nay,  many 
arc  guilty  of  that  in  secret,  which  they  have  the  face 
to  punish  in  others  when  it  is  d'.sco\  ered.  Cogita 
tecum,  fortasse  vitium  de  (juo  guereris,  si  te  diligen- 
tere.iTusseris,  in  sinu  inTcnics ;  i!iii/2ie publico  irasce- 
ris  crimini  tuo — Ri  fleet  that  per/ui/is  the  fault  of 
ii'hich  you  complain,  might,  on  a  strict  examination, 
be  discovered  in  yourself;  and  that  it  nvonld  he  unjust 
publicly  to  express  indignation  against  your  ov.'n 
crime.  Seneca,  de  Denejiciis.  But,  [5.]  Nien's  be- 
ing so  severe  upon  the  faults  of  others,  while  they 
arc  indulgent  ot  their  own,  is  a  mark  of  hypoci'isy. 
Thou  hypocrite,  v.  5.  Whatever  such  a  one  may 
])retcnd,  it  is  certain  that  he  is  no  enemy  to  sin,  (if 
lie  were,  he  would  be  an  enemy  to  his  own  sin,)  and 
therefore  he  is  not  worthy  of  praise ;  nay,  that  it 
appears  he  is  an  enemy  to  his  brother,  and  therefore 
worthy  of  blame.  This  spiritual  charity  nuist  begin 
at  home ;  "  J'or  horn  canst  thou  say,  how  canst  thou 
for  shame  say,  to  thy  brother.  Let  me  help  to  reform 
thee,  when  thou  takcst  no  care  to  reform  thyself? 
Thy  own  heart  will  upbraid  thee  with  the  absurdity 
of  it ;  thou  wilt  do  it  with  an  ill  grace,  and  thr.vi  wilt 
expect  every  one  to  tell  thee,  that  vice  corrects  sin: 
phusiciati,  heal  thiiself;  "  I  prpe,  sei/uar — G'o  uou 
before,  and  I  tvil'l  follonv."  See  Rem.  2.  21.  [6.] 
The  considci'ation  of  what  is  amiss  in  ourselves,  _ 
though  it  ought  not  to  keep  us  from  administering 
friendly  reproof,  o\ight  to  keep  us  from  magisterial 
censuring,  and  to  make  us  very  candid  and  charita- 
ble in  judging  others.  "  Therefore  restore  reith  the 
s/iirit  of  meekness,  considering  thi/self;  (Gal.  6.  1.) 
w-liat  thou  hast  been,  what  thou  art,  and  what  thou 
wouldst  be,  if  God  should  leave  thee  to  thyself." 

(2.)  Here  is  a  good  rtde  for  reprovers,  v.  5.  Go 
in  the  right  method,  ./fr??  cast  the  beam  out  of  thine 
own  eye.  Our  own  badness  is  so  far  from  excusing 
us  in  not  reproving,  that  our  being  by  it  rendered 
unfit  to  reprove,  is  an  aggravation  of  our  badness  ;  I 
must  not  say,  "I  have  a  beam  in  my  oivn  eye,  and 
therefore  I  will  not  help  my  brother  with  the  mote 
out  of  his."  A  man's  offence  will  never  be  his  de- 
fence :  but  I  must  first  reform  myself,  that  I  may 
thereby  help  to  reform  ni\'  lirother,  and  may  qualify 
myself  to  reprove  him.  Note,  These  who  blame 
others,  ought  to  he  blameless  and  harmless  them- 
selves. Those  who  are  reprovers  in  the  gate,  re- 
])rovers  by  office,  magistrates  and  ministers,  are 
concerned  to  nvalk  circumspectly,  and  to  be  veiy 
regular  in  their  cnn\ersation  :  an  elder  must  have  a 
good  report,  1  Tim.  3.  2,  7.  The  snuffers  of  the 
sanctuary  were  to  be  of  pure  gold. 

2.  It  is  not  e\  en'  one  that  is  fit  to  be  reproved ; 
Gix'e  not  that  u'hich  is  holy  unto  dogs,  v.  6.  This 
may  be  considered,  cither,  (1.)  As  a  nile  to  the  dis- 
ciples in  preaching  the  gospel  ;  not  that  they  must 
not  preach  it  to  any  who  were  wicked  and  profane, 
(Christ  himself  ])rcached  to  publicans  and  sinners,) 
but  the  reference  is  to  such  as  they  found  obstinate 
after  the  gospel  was  preached  to  them,  such  as  bias- 


78 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VII. 


phemed  it,  and  persecuted  the  preachers  of  it :  let 
them  not  spend  much  time  among  such,  for  it  would 
be  lost  labour,  but  let  them  turn  to  others.  Acts  13. 
41.     So  Dr.  Whitby.     Or,  (2. )  As  a  rule  to  all  in 
giving  reproof.     Our  zeal  against  sin  must  be  guided 
by  discretion,  and  we  must  not  go  about  to  give  in- 
structions, counsels,  and  rebukes,  much  less  com- 
forts, to  hardened  scorners,  to  whom  it  will  certainly 
do  no  good,  but  who  will  be  exasperated  and  enraged 
at  us.     Throw  a  pearl  to  a  swine,  and  lie  will  resent 
it,  as  if  you  tlirew  a  stone  at  him  :  re/iroofs  will  be 
called  reproaches,  as  they  were,  (Luke  11.  45.  Jer. 
6.  19. )  therefore  give  not  to  dogs  and  swine,  (unclean 
creatures)  holy  things.     Note,   [1.]   Good  counsel 
and  reproof  are  a  holy  thing,  and  a  pearl :  they  are 
ordinances  of  God,  they  are  precious ;  as  an  ear-ring 
of  gold,  and  an  ornament  of  fine  gold,  so  is  the  wise 
reprover,  (Prov.  25.  12.)  and  a  wise  reproof  is  li/ce 
an  excellent  oil ;  (Ps.  141.  5.)  it  is  a  tree  of  life,  Prov. 
3.  18.     [2.]  Among  the  generation  of  the  wicked,  i 
there  are  some  that  are  arrived  at  such  a  pitch  of 
wickedness,  that  tliey  are  looked  upon  as  dogs  and 
swine ;  they  are  impudently  and  notoriously  vile ; 
they  have  so  long  nvalked  in  the  trai/  of  sinners,  that 
they  are  sat  down  in  the  seat  of  the  scornful ;  they 
professedly  hate  and  despise  instruction,  and  set  it  at 
defiance,  so  that  they  are  irrecnxerably  and  irre- 
claimably  wicked ;  they  return  with  the  dog  to  his 
vomit,  aiid  with  the  soiv  to  her  •zvallonving  in  the  mire. 
[3.]  Reproofs  of  instruction  are  ill  bestowed  upon 
such,  and  expose  the  reprover  to  all  the  contempt 
and  mischief  that  may  be  expected  from  dogs  and 
swine.      One  can  expect  no  other  than  that  they 
will  trample  the  reproofs  under  their  feet,  in  scorn 
of  them,  and  rage  against  them  ;  for  they  are  impa- 
tient of  control  and  contradiction  ;  and  they  will  turn 
again  and  rend  the  reprovers  ;  rend  their  good  names 
with  their  rcvilings,  return  them  wounding  words 
for  their  healing  ones  ;  rend  them  with  persecution  ; 
Herod  rent  Jolm  Baptist  for  his  faithfidness.     See 
here  wliat  is  the  evidence  of  men's  being  dogs  and 
swine.     Tlic)'  are  to  be  reckoned  such,  who  hate 
refiroofi  and  rcpro\-crs,  and  fly  in  the  face  of  tliose 
wlio,  in  kindness  to  their  souls,  show  them  their  sin 
and  danger.     These  sin  against  the  remedy ;  who 
shall  heal  and  help  those  tha.t  will  not  be  healed  and 
helped  ?  It  isplain  that  God  has  determined  to  de- 
stroy such,  2  Chron.  25.  16.    Tl\e  rule  here  given  is 
applicable  to  the  distinguishing,  sealing  ordinances  of 
the  gospel  ;  which  must  not  be  prostituted  to  those 
who  are  openly  wicked  and  profane,  lest  holy  things 
be  thereby  rendered  contemptible,  and  unholy  per- 
sons be  thereby  hardened.     It  is  7iot  meet  to  take  the 
children's  bread,  and  cast  it  to  the  dogs.    Yet  we  must 
be  very  cautious  whom  we  condemn  as  dogs  and 
swine,  and  not  do  it  till  ;ifter  trial,  and  upon  fvdl 
evidence.     Many  a  patient  is  lost,  by  being  thought 
to  be  so,  who,  if  means  had  lieen  used,  might  have 
been  saved.     As  we  must  take  heed  of  calling  the 
good,  bad,  by  iudging  all  jjrofessors  to  be  hypocrites ; 
so  we  must  take  heed  of  calling  the  bad,  des/ierate, 
by  judging  all  the  wicked  to  be  dogs  and  sivine.  [4.] 
Our  Lord  Jesus  is  very  tender  of  the  safety  of  his 
people,  and  would  not  have  them  needlessly  to  ex- 
pose themselves  to  tlie  fury  of  those  that  will  turii 
again  and  rend  them.     Let  them  not  be  righteous 
over  much,   so  a?  to  destroy  themselves.      Christ 
makes  the  law  of  self-preservation  one  of  his  own 
laws,   and  firecious  is  the  blood  of  his  subjects  to 
him. 

7.  Ask,  and  it  shall  be  given  you  ;  seek, 
and  ye  shall  find  ;  knock,  and  it  shall  be 
opened  unto  you :  8.  For  every  one  that 
asketh  receiveth ;  and  he  that  seeketh  find- 
eth ;  and  to  him  that  knocketh,  it  shall  be 


opened.  9.  Or  what  man  is  there  of  you, 
whom  if  his  son  ask  bread,  will  he  give  him 
a  stone  ?  1 0.  Or  if  he  ask  a  fish,  will  he  give 
him  a  sci-pent  1  11.  If  ye  then,  being  evil, 
know  how  to  give  good  gifts  unto  your 
children,  how  much  more  shall  your  Fa- 
ther which  is  in  heaven  give  good  things  to 
them  tiiat  ask  him  ? 

Our  Saviour,  in  the  foregoing  chapter,  had  spoken 
of  prayer  as  a  commanded  duty,  by  which  God  is 
honoured,  and  which,  if  done  aright,  shall  be  re- 
warded ;  here  he  speaks  of  it  as  the  appointed  means 
of  obtaining  what  w'e  need,  especially  grace  to  obey 
the  precepts  he  had  given,  some  of  which  are  so 
displeasing  to  flesh  and  blood.  ... 

1.  Here  is  a  precept  in  three  words  to  the  same 
purjjort,  .isA;  See/:,  Knock- ;  {v.  7.)  that  is,  in  one 
word,  "  Pray  ;  pray  often,  pray  with  sincerity  and 
seriousness ;  pray,  and  pray  again ;  make  conscience 
of  prayer,  and  be  constant  in  it ;  make  a  business  of 
prayer,  and  be  earnest  in  it.  ^sk,  as  a-bcggar  asks 
alms."  They  that  would  be  rich  in  grace,  must 
betake  themsehes  to  the  poor  trade  of  begging,  and 
they  shall  find  it  a  thri\ing  trade.  "  .isk ;  represent 
your  wants  and  burdens  to  God,  and  refer  yourselves 
to  him  for  support  and  suppl)-,  according  to  his  pro- 
mise. .^"Isk  ;  as  a  traAcUcr  asks  the  way  ;  to  pray  is 
to  inquire  of  God,  Ezek.  36.  37.  .S'fcA-,  as  for  a  thing  j 
of  value  that  we  ha\  e  lost ;  or  as  the  merchantman 
that  seeks  goodly  fiearls.  Seek  bij  prayer  ;  (Dan.  9. 
3.)  Knock,  as  he  that  desires  to  enter  into  the  house 
knocks  at  the  door."  \\'e  would  be  admitted  to 
con\-erse  with  God,  would  be  taken  into  his  love, 
and  favour,  and  kingdom  ;  sin  has  shut  and  barred 
the  door  against  us  ;  by  prayer,  we  knock ;  Lord, 
Lord,  ofien  to  tis.  Christ  knocks  at  our  door,  (Rev. 
3.  20.  Cant.  5.  2.)  and  allows  us  to  knock  at  his, 
wliich  is  a  favour  we  do  not  allow  to  common  beg- 
gars. Seeking  and  knocking  imply  something  more 
than  asking  aiid  praying.  1.  We  must  not  cnly  ask 
but  seek;  we  must  second  our  prayers  with  our  en 
deavours  ;  we  must  in  the  use  of  the  appointed  means 
seek  for  that  which  we  ask  for,  else  we  tempt  God, 
When  the  dresser  of  the  %ine\'ard  asked  for  a  year's 
respite  for  tlie  barren  fig-tree,  he  added,  Inill  dig 
about  it,  Luke  13.  7,  8.  God  gives  knowledge  and 
gi-ace  to  those  that  search  the  scriptures,  and  wait  at 
\\'isdoni's  gates  ;  and  power  against  sin  to  those  that 
avoid  the  occasions  of  it.  3.  \\e  must  not  only  0.9/-, 
but  knock ;  we  must  come  to  God's  door,  must  ask 
importunately;  not  only  pray,  but  plead  and  wrestle 
with  God;  we  must  seek  diligently,  w-e  must  con- 
tinue knocking;  must  persevere  in  prayer,  and  in 
the  use  of  means ;  must  endure  to  the  end  in  the 
duty. 

n.  Here  is  a  promise  annexed :  our  labour  in 
prayer,  if  indeed  we  do  labour  in  it,  shall  not  be  in 
x'ain  :  where  God  finds  a  praying  heart,  he  will  be 
found  a  prayer-hearing  God  ;  he  shall  gix'e  thee  an 
answer  of  peace.  The  precept  is  threefold,  ask, 
seek,  knock  ;  there  is  precept  upon  precept ;  but  the 
promise  is  sixfold,  line  upon  line,  for  our  encourage- 
ment ;  because  a  firm  belief  of  the  promise  would 
make  us  cheei-ful  and  constant  in  our  obedi«'iice. 
Now  here, 

1.  The  promise  is  made,  and  made  so  as  exactly 
to  answer  the  precept,  v.  7.  God  will  meef  those 
that  attend  on  him  :  Ask,  and  it  shall  be  given  you  ; 
not  lent  vou,  not  sold  you,  but  gwen  you  ;  and  what 
is  more  free  than  gift  ?  WTiatever  you  pray  for,  ac 
cording  to  the  promise,  whatever  you  ask,  shall  be 
given  you,  if  God  see  it  fit  for  you,  and  what  would 
you  have  more  ?  It  is  but  ask  and  have  :  ye  have  not, 
because  ye  ask  not,  or  ask  not  aright :"  what  is  not 


I 


ST.  MATTHEW,  Ml. 


79 


north  asking,  is  not  worth  having,  and  then  it  is' 
wortli  notliing.  Sir/:,  and  ije  shall  Jirul,  and  then 
you  do  not  lose  your  labour  ;  CJod  is  himself  yo;/«(/ 
of  those  that  seek  him,  and  if  we  find  liim  we  liavc  ! 
cnougl\.  "  Knock,  ami  it  shall  be  o/iencd  ;  the  door 
of  mercy  and  grace  shall  no  longer  be  shut  against 
vou  as  enemies  and  intruders,  but  opened  to  you  as 
friends  and  children.  It  will  be  asked,  leho  is  at  the 
Joor?  If  you  be  able  to  say,  a  friend,  and  have  the 
ticket  of  the  promise  ready  to  produce  in  the  hand 
of  faith,  doubt  not  of  admission.  If  the  door  be  not 
o/inied  at  the  fii-st  knock,  continue  instant  in  jirayer  ; 
it  is  an  affront  to  a  friend  to  knock  at  his  door,  and 
then  go  away  ;  though  he  tarry,  yet  wait." 

2.  It  is  repeated,  t.  8.  It  is  to  the  same  puiposc, 
vet  with  some  addition.  (1.)  It  is  made  to  extend 
to  all  that  ])ray  aright ;  "  Not  only  you  my  discii)les 
shall  receive  what  you  pray  for,  but  ex-ery  one  that 
asketh,  receiveth,  whether  Jew  or  Gentile,  young  or 
old,  rich  or  poor,  high  or  low,  master  or  scr^■ant, 
learned  or  unlearned,  they  are  all  alike'  welcome  to 
the  throne  of  g-i-iice,  if  they  come  in  faith  ;  fir  God 
is  no  Res/teeter  of  /icisons.  (2.)  It  is  made  so  ;is  to 
amount  to  a  grant,  in  words  of  the  i)resent  tense, 
which  is  more  than  a  promise  for  the  future.  £,very 
one  that  asketh,  not  only  shall  receive,  but  receiveth ; 
by  faith,  ap])lying  and  appropriating  the  promise, 
'  we  are  actually  interested  and  invested  in  the  good 
promised  ;  so  sure  and  in\iolable  are  the  pi-omises 
of  God,  that  they  do,  in  effect,  give  jiresent  posses- 
sion ;  an  acti\e  beliexer  enters  immediatch',  and 
makes  the  blessings  promised  his  own.  \\niat  wC 
have  in  hope,  accordmg  to  the  promise,  is  as  sure, 
and  should  be  as  sweet,  as  what  we  have  in  hand. 
God  hath  sftoken  in  his  holiness,  and  then  (Ulead  is 
mine,  Manasseh  is  mine ;  (Ps.  108.  7,  8. )  it  is  all  mine 
own,  if  I  can  but  make  it  so  by  belie\ing  it  so. 
Conditional  grants  become  absolute  upon  the  per- 
formance of  the  condition  ;  so  here,  he  that  asketh, 
receiveth.  Christ  hereby  puts  \\\%  fiat  to  the  jjetition  ; 
and  he  having  all  power,  that  is  enough. 

3.  It  is  illustrated,  by  a  similitude  taken  from 
earthly  parents,  and  their  innate  readiness  to  give 
their  childi-cn  what  they  ask.  Christ  appeals  to  his 
hearers.  What  man  is  there  of  you.  though  ncxer  so 
morose  and  ill-humoured,  nvhom,  if  his  son  ask  bread, 
tvill  he  give  him  a  stone  ?  v.  9,  10.  AN'hcnce  he  in- 
fers, {v.  11.)  If  ye  then  being  ex'il,  yet  gi'ant  your 
children's  requests,  much  more  tvill  your  heavenly 
Father  give  you  the  good  things  you  ask.  Now  this 
is  of  use. 

(1.)  To  direct  our  prayers  and  expectations. 
[1.]  \\'e  must  come  to  God,  as  children  to  a  Father 
in  heaven,  with  reverence  and  confidence.  How 
naturally  does  the  child  in  want  or  distress  nm  to 
the  father  with  its  complaints  ;  My  head,  mi/  head ; 
thus  shovdd  the  new  nature  send  us  to  CJod  for  sup- 
ports and  supplies.  [2.]  ^\'e  must  come  to  him  for 
good  things,  for  these  he  gh'es  to  them  that  ask  him  ; 
which  teaches  us  to  refer  ourselves  to  him  :  we 
know  not  what  is  good  for  ourselves,  (Eccl.  fi.  12.) 
but  he  knows  what  is  good  for  us,  we  must  therefore 
leave  it  with  him  ;  Father,  thy  ivill  be  done.  The 
child  is  here  siipposcd  to  ask  bread,  that  is  neces- 
sary, and  a  fish,  that  is  wholesome  ;  but  if  the  child 
should  foolishly  ask  for  a  stone,  or  a  servient,  for  \m- 
ripe  fruit  to  eat,  or  a  sharp  knife  to  plav  with,  the 
father,  though  kind,  is  so  wise  as  to  deny  him.  We 
often  ask  that  of  God  which  would  do  us  hurt  if  we 
had  it ;  he  knows  it,  and  therefore  does  not  give  it 
us.  Denials  in  love  are  better  than  grants  in  anger ; 
we  had  been  imdone  ere  this,  if  we  had  had  all  yve 
desired  ;  this  is  admirablj-  well  expressed  by  a  hea- 
then, Juvenal,  Sat.  10. 

Permittes  i/isis  exfiendere  nummibus,  quid 
Conveniat  nobis,  rebusque  sit  utile  noilris. 


.Yatn  /irojucundis  u/itissima  quaeque  dabunt  dii, 
Curior  est  illis  homo,  qiiam  sibi :  7ios  animorum 
Im/iulsu,  et  card  magndque  cu/iidine  ducti, 
Conjugium  ftetimus,(Hirtumque  uxoris  ;  at  illis 
A'olum  est,  qui  fiueri,  qualisquefutura  sit  uxor. 

Intrust  thy  fortune  to  the  pow'rs  above. 
Leave  them  to  manage  for  tliee,  and  to  grant 
What  their  luierring  wisdom  sees  thee  want : 
In  goodness,  as  in  greatness,  they  excel ; 
Ah,  that  we  lov'd  ourselves  but  naif  so  well  ! 
\\e,  blindly  by  our  headstrong  passions  led, 
Seek  a  companion,  ;uid  desire  to  wed  ; 
Then  wish  tor  heirs  :  but  to  the  gods  alone 
Our  future  offspring,  and  oiu-  wix  es,  are  known. 

(2.)  To  f?!<-owrai»-f  our  pi-ayers  and  expectations. 
We  may  hope  that  we  shall  not  be  denied  and  dis- 
appointed :  we  shall  net  have  a  stone  for  bread,  to 
break  our  teeth,  (though  we  ha\  e  a  hard  crust  to 
employ  our  teeth,)  nor  a  ser/ienl  for  a  Jish,  to  sting 
us  ;  we  have  reason  indeed  to  fear  it,  because  we 
deserve  it,  but  (kid  will  be  better  to  us  than  the  de- 
sert of  our  sins.     The  yvorld  often  gives  stones  for 
bread,  and  ser/ients  for  Jish,  but  God  ne\er  does; 
nay,  we  shall  be  heard  and  answered,  for  children 
are  by  their  parents.     [1.^  God  has  put  into  the 
hearts  of  parents  a  compassionate  inclination  to  suc- 
cour and  supply  their  children,  according  to  their 
need.     Even  they  that  have  had  little  conscience  of 
duty,  yet  have  done  it,  as  it  were  bv  instinct.     No 
law  was  e\  er  thought  necessaiy  to  obhge  parents  to 
maintain  their  legitimate  children,  nor,  in  Solomon's 
time,  their  illegitimate  ones.     [2.]  He  has  assumed 
the  relation  of  a  Father  to  us,  and  owns  us  for  his 
children  ;  that  from  the  readiness  we  find  in  our- 
selves to  relieve  our  children,  we  may  be  encouraged 
to  apply  oursehes  to  him  for  relief.    What  love  and 
tenderness  fathers  hav  e,  are  from  him  ;  not  from 
nature,  but  from  the  God  of  nature  ;  and  therefore 
they  must  needs  be  infinitely  greater  in  himself. 
He  compares  his  concern  for  his  people  to  that  of  a 
father  for  his  children,  (Ps.  103.  13.)  nav,  to  that  of 
a  mother,  which  is  usually  more  tender,  Jsa.  66.  ^ 
13. — 49.  14,  15.     But  here  it  is  supposed,  that  his 
love,  and  tenderness,  and  goodness,  far  excel  that 
of  any  earthly  parent ;  and  therefore  it  is  argued 
with  a  7ni/ch  more,  and  it  is  grrunded  upon  this  un- 
doubted truth,  that  God  is  a  better  Father,  infinitely 
better  than  any  earthly  parents  are  ;  his  thoughts 
are  above  theirs.     Our  earthly  fathers  have  taken 
care  of  us ;  we  have  taken  care  of  our  children  ; 
much  more  will  (iod  take  rare  of  his  ;  for  they  are 
evil,  originally  so ;  the  degenerate  seed  cf  fallen 
.\dam  ;  they  have  lost  much  of  the  good  nature  thai 
Ijelonged  to  humanity,  and  among  other  corniptions, 
have  that  of  crossness  and  unkindness  in  them  ;  yet 
they  give  good  things  to  their  children,  and  they 
kno'W  ho'.v  to  gri'e,  suitably  and  seasonably  ;  much 
?nore  li'ill  God,  for  he  takes  up  when  they  forsake, 
Ps.  27.  10.     And,  First,  God  is  more  knowing  ;  pa- 
rents are  often  foolishly  fond,  but  God  is  wise,  infi- 
nitely so  ;  he  knows  what  we  need,  what  we  desire, 
and  what  is  fit  for  us.     Secondlv,  God  is  more  kind. 
If  all  the  com])assions  of  all  the  tender  fathers  in 
the  world  were  crowded  into  the  bowels  of  one,  yet 
compared  -.vith  the  tender  mercies  of  our  God,  tliev 
would  be  but  as  a  candle  to  the  sim,  or  a  drop  to  the 
ocean.     God  is  more  rich,  and  more  ready,  to  his 
cliildren,  than  the  fathers  of  our  flesh  can  be  ;  for 
he  is  the  Father  of  our  spirits,  an  ever-loving,  ever- 
living  Father  :  the  bowels  of  fathers  yearn  even  to- 
wards undutifid  children,  towards  profligals,  as  Da- 
vid's toward  Absalom,  and  will  not  all  this  sei-ve  to 
silence  unbelief .'' 

12.  Therefore  all  thiniss  whatsoever  ye 
would  that  men  should  do  to  you,  do  ye 


80 


hT.  MATTHEW,  VII. 


even  so  to  them :  for  this  is  tlie  law  and 
the  prophets.  13.  Enter  ye  in  at  the  strait 
gate :  for  wide  is  the  gate,  and  broad  is  the 
way,  that  leadeth  to  destruction,  and  many 
there  be  which  go  in  thereat :  1 4.  Because 
strait  is  the  gate,  and  narrow  is  the  way, 
which  leadeth  unto  life  ;  and  few  there  be 
that  find  it. 


Our  Lord  Jesus  here  presses  upon  us  that  righte- 
ousness toward  men  which  is  an  essential  branch  of  | 
true  religion,  and  that  religion  toward  God,  which 
is  an  essential  branch  of  universal  righteousness. 

I.  We  must  make  righteousness  our  rule,  and  be 
ruled  by  it,  v.  12.  Therefore,  lay  this  dow-n  for 
your  principle,  to  do  as  you  would  be  done  by  ; 
therefore,  that  you  may  conform  to  the  foregoing 
precepts,  which  are  particular,  that  vou  may  not 
judge  and  censure  others,  go  Ijy  this  nile  in  general ; 
you  would  not  be  censured,  therefore  do  not  censure. 
Or,  that  you  may  have  the  benefit  of  the  foregoing 
promises,  fitly  is  the  law  of  justice  suljjoined  to  the 
law  of  prayer,  for  unless  we  be  honest  in  our  con- 
versation, God  will  not  liear  our  prayers,  Isa.  1. 
15— 17.— 58.  6,  9.  Zech.  7.  9,  13.  We  cannot  ex- 
pect to  receive  good  things  from  God,  if  we  do  not 
fair  things,  and  that  wliich  is  honest,  and  lovely,  and 
of  good  refiort,  among  men.  We  must  not  only  be 
devout,  but  honest,  else  our  devotion  is  but  hypo- 
crisy.    Now  here  we  have, 

1.  The  nile  of  justice  laid  down  ;   IMiatsoever  ye 
•would  that  men  should  do  to  ijou,  do  ye  ei-'en  so  to 
them.     Christ  came  to  teach  us,  not  only  what  we 
are  to  know  and  believe,  but  what  we  are  to  do ; 
what  we  are  to  do,  not  only  toward  God,  liut  toward 
men  ;  not  only  towards  our  fellow-disciples,  those 
of  our  ])aity  and  persuasion,  iDut  toward  men  in  ge- 
neral, all  with  whom  vie  have  to  do.     The  golden 
rule  of  eo,uity  is,  to  do  to  others,  as  we  would  they 
should  do  to  us.    Alexander  Sevems,  a  heathen  em- 
peror, was  a  great  admirer  of  this  rule,  had  it  writ- 
ten upon  the  walls  of  his  closet,  often  quoted  it  in 
giving  judgment,   honoured  Clirist,   and  favoured 
c^iristians,  for  the  sake  of  it.     Quod  tibi,  hoc  alteri — 
do  to  others  as  you  would  they  'should  do  to  you. 
Take  it  negatively,  f  Quod  tibi  fieri  non  tw,  tie  al- 
teri feceris  ;J  or  positively,  it  conies  all  to  the  same. 
We  must  not  do  to  others  the  e\il  they  have  done 
to  us,  nor  the  evil  which  they  would  do  to  us,  if  it 
were  in  their  power ;  nor  may  we  do  that  which  we 
think,  if  it  were  done  to  us,  we  could  bear  content- 
edly, but  what  we  desire  should  be  done  to  us.  This 
is  grounded  upon  that  great  commandment,  Thou 
shalt  love  thy  neighbour  as  thyself.     As  we  must 
bear  the  same  affection  to  our  neighboiu',  that  we 
would  ha\e  borne  to  ourselves,  so  we  nmst  do  the 
same  good  offices.    The  meaning  of  this  rule  lies  in 
three  things.     (1.)  We  must  do  that  to  our  neigh- 
bour which  we  oursehes  acknowledge  to  be  fit  and 
reasonable  ;  the  appeal  is  made  to  our  own  judg- 
ment, and  the  discovery  of  our  judgment  is  referred 
to  that  which  is  our  own  will  and  expectation,  when 
it  is  our  ow-n  case.     (2.)  ^^'e  must  put  other  people  ! 
upon  the  level  with  oursehcs,  and  reckon  we  are  as 
much  obliged  to  them,  as  they  to  us.     Wtt  are  as 
much  bound  to  the  duty  of  jvistice  as  they,  and  they 
as  much  entitled  to  the  benefit  of  it  as  we.    (3.)  We 
must,  in  our  dealings  with  men,  suppose  ourselves 
in  the  same  particular  case  and  circimistances  with 
those  we  have  to  do  with,  and  deal  accordingly.    If 
I  were  making  such  a  one's  bareain,  labouring  imder 
such  a  one's  infirmity  and  affliction,  how  would  I 
desire  and  expect  to  be  treated  ?  And  this  is  a  just 
supposition,  because  we  know  not  how  scon  their 
case  may  really  be  ours  :  indeed  we  may  fear,  lest 


God  by  his  judgments  should  do  tt  us  as  we  have 
done  to  otliers,  if  we  have  not  done  as  we  would  be 
done  by. 

2.  A  reason  given  to  enforce  this  rule  ;  This  is  the 
Iwui  and  the  projihets.  It  is  the  summary  of  that 
second  great  commandment,  which  is  one  ot  the  two, 
on  ivhich  hang  all  the  law  and  the  pro-jihets,  ch.  22. 
40.  We  have  not  tliis  in  so  many  words,  either  in 
the  law  or  th^rojihets,  but  it  is  the  concurring  lan- 
guage of  the  whole.  All  that  is  there  said  concern- 
ing our  duty  towards  cur  neighbour,  (and  that  is  no 
little,)  may  be  reduced  to  this  rule.  Christ  has  here 
adopted  it  into  this  law  ;  so  that  both  the  Old  Tes- 
tament, and  the  >Jew,  agree  in  prescribing  this  to 
us,  to  do  as  we  would  be  done  by.  By  this  nale  the 
law  of  Christ  is  commended,  but  the  li\es  cf  chris- 
tians are  condemned  by  comparing  them  with  it. 
.int  hoc  hen  ei'angelium,  aut  hi  ncn  c-i'angelici — 
Either  this  is  not  the  gospel,  or  these  are  not  chris- 
tians. 

II.  We  must  make  religion  cur  business,  and  be 
intent  upon  it ;  we  mtist  be  strict  and  circumspect 
in  our  conversaticn,  which  is  here  represented  to  us 
as  entering  in  at  a  strait  gate,  and  walking  on  a  nai'- 
row  ii'ay,  v.  13,  14.     Observe  here, 

1.  The  account  that  is  given  cf  the  bad  way  of  > 
sin,  and  the  good  way  of  holiness.  There  are  but' 
two  ways,  right  and  wrong,  good  and  evil  ;  the  way 
to  heaven,  and  the  way  to  hell ;  in  the  one  of  which 
we  arc  all  of  us  walking  :  no  middle  place  hereafter, 
no  middle  way  now  :  the  distinction  of  the  children  i 
of  men  into  saints  and  sinners,  godly  and  ungcdlVi  / 
will  swallow  up  all  to  eternity.  ly 

Here  is,  (1.)  An  account  given  us  of  the  way  of 
sin  and  sinners  ;  both  what  is  the  best,  and  what  is 
the  worst  of  it. 

[1.]  That  which  allures  multitudes  into  it,  and 
kee])s  them  in  it ;  the  gate  is  wide,  and  the  way  broad, 
and  there  arc  many  tra\ellers  in  that  way.  first, 
"  Ycu  will  have  abundance  of  liberty  in  that  way  ; 
the  gate  is  v^-ide,  and  stands  wide  cpen  to  tempt  thof  c 
that  go  right  on  their  way.  Ycu  may  go  in  at  this 
gate  with  all  yoiu'  lusts  about  you  ;  it  gives  no  check 
to  your  appetites,  to  your  passions  :  you  may  walir 
in  the  wau  of  your  heart,  and  in  the  sight  of  your 
eyes  ;  that  gives  room  enough."  It  is  a  bread  way, 
for  tliere  is  nothing  to  hedge  in  thcsie  that  walk  in 
it,  but  they  wander  endlessly  ;  a  broad  way,  for 
there  arc  many  paths  in  it  ;  there  is  choice  of  sinful 
ways,  contrary  to  each  other,  but  all  paths  in  this 
b)-oad  wau.  &condly,  "Ycu  will  have  abundance 
of  company  in  that  way  ;  many  there  be  that  go  in 
at  this  gate,  and  walk  in  this  way."  If  ■v.e  f.lloiv 
the  multitude,  it  will  be  to  do  nil:  if  we  go  with  the 
crov/d,  it  will  be  the  w'rcng  way.  It  is  natural  for 
us  to  incline  to  go  down  the  stream  and  do  as  the 
most  do  ;  but  it  is  too  great  a  crmpliment  to  be  wil- 
ling to  be  damned  for  company,  and  to  go  to  hell 
with  them,  because  they  will  not  go  to  heaven  with 
us :  if  many  pci'ish,  we  shculd  be  the  more  cautious. 
[2.]  That  which  should  affnght  us  all  from  it  is, 
that  it  leads  to  destructio7i.  Death,  eternal  death, 
is  at  the  end  of  it,  (and  the  way  of  sin  tends  to 
it,) — everlasting  destruction  from  the  presence  of 
the  Lord.  Whether  it  be  the  high  way  of  open 
profancness,  or  the  back  way  of  close  h\-pccrisy, 
if  it  be  a  way  of  sin,  it  will  be  our  ruin,  if  we  repent 
not. 

(2.)  Here  is  an  account  given  us  cf  the  way  of 
holiness. 

[1.]  ^^^lat  there  is  in  it  that  frightens  many  from 
it ;  let  us  know  the  worst  of  it,  that  we  may  sit  down 
and  count  the  ccst.  Christ  deals  ftiithfully  with  us. 
and  tells  us. 

First,  That  the  gate  is  strait.  Conversion  and  re- 
generation are  the  gate,  by  which  we  enter  into  th's 
way,  in  which  we  begin  a  life  cf  faith  and  scricui 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VII. 


81 


lo 


godliness  ;  out  of  a  state  of  sin  into  a  state  of  grace,  I 
we  must  pass,  by  the  new  birth,  iahn  3.  3,  5.  Tliis 
is  a  strait  gate,  haixl  to  find,  and  hard  to  get  through ; 
like  a  jjassage  between  two  rocks,  1  Sam.  1-1.  4. 
There  must  be  a  nnv  heart,  and  a  nciu  sfiirit,  and 
old  tilings  must  /lass  airatj.  Tlie  bent  ot  the  soul 
must  be  cliaiigcd,  con-upt  habits  and  customs  broken 
off;  what  we  have  been  doing  all  our  days,  nuist  be 
undone  again.  We  must  swnn  against  the  stream  ; 
mnch  opposition  must  be  stniggled  with,  and  broken 
through,  from  witliout,  and  from  within.  It  is  easier 
to  set  a  man  against  all  the  world  than  against  him- 
self, and  yet  this  must  be  in  conxcrsion.  It  is  a 
strait  gale,  for  we  nuist  stoop,  or  we  eauTint  go  in  at 
it ;  we  must  become  as  little  children  ;  high  thoughts 
must  be  brought  down  ;  nay,  we  must  strip,  must 
denv  ourselves,  put  off  the  world,  put  off  the  old 
man  ;  we  must  be  willing  to  forsake  all  for  our  in- 
terest in  Christ.  The  gate  is  strait  to  all,  hut  to  some 
straitcr  than  to  others  ;  as  to  the  rich,  to  some  that 
have  been  long  prejudiced  against  religion.  The 
rate  is  strait ;  blessed  be  CJod,  it  is  not  shut  up,  nor 
ocked  against  us,  nor  ke])t  with  a  flaming  sword,  as 
it  will  be  shoi-tly,  ch.  25.  10. 

Secondly,  That  the  nvaij  is  jiarrow.  \\'e  are  not 
in  heaven  as  s(xin  as  we  are  got  through  the  strait 
gate  ;  not  in  Canaan  as  soon  as  we  arc  got  through 
the  Red  sea  ;  no,  we  nnist  go  through  a  wilderness, 
must  travel  a  narroiv  nvaij,  liedgcd  m  by  the  divine 
law,  which  is  exceeding  broad,  and  that  makes  the 
ivait  narrow  ;  self  must  be  denied,  the  body  kept 
under,  corniptions  mortified,  that  are  as  a  right  eye 
and  a  right  hand  ;  daily  temjitations  must  be  resist- 
ed ;  duties  must  be  done  that  are  against  our  incli- 
nation :  we  must  endure  hardness,  must  wrestle  ;uid  j 
be  in  an  agonv  ;  must  watch  in  all  things,  and  walk 
with  care  and  circumspection  ;  we  must  go  through 
much  trihulalion.  It  is  :<f:c  Tti^ijuy-itx,  an  afflicted 
way,  a  way  hedged  al)Gut  with  thorns ;  blessed  be 
God,  it  is  not  hedged  up.  The  bodies  we  cany 
about  with  us,  and  the  corniptions  remaining  in  us, 
make  the  way  of  our  duty  difficult ;  but  as  the  un- 
deretanding  and  will  grow  more  and  more  sound,  it 
will  open  and  enlarge,  and  gi'ow  more  and  more 
Dleasant. 

Thirdly,  The  gate  being  so  strait  and  the  way  so 
narrow,  it  is  not  strange  that  there  are  but  few  that 
find  it  and  choose  it.  Many  pass  it  bv,  through 
"carelessness ;  thev  will  not  be  at  the  jiains  to  find  it ; 
thev  ai-e  well  as  they  are,  and  see  no  need  to  change 
their  way.  Othei-s  look  upon  it,  but  shun  it ;  they 
like  not  to  be  so  limited  and  restrained.  They  that 
are  going  to  heaven  are  l)ut  few,  compared  to  those 
that  arc  going  to  hell  ;  a  remnant,  a  little  flock,  like 
the  grape-gleanings  of  the  vintage  ;  as  the  ei!:::ht  that 
were  saved  in  the  ark,  1  Kings  20.  27.  In  x'ifia  alter 
alteram  tradimus ;  Quomodo  ad  salutetn  rerocari 
/latest  quu!n  nullus  retrahit,  et  jiofiulus  imjiellit — In 
the  ways  of  vice  men  urge  each  other  onward :  how 
shall  atiy  one  be  restored  to  the  p.ath  of  safety,  when 
imficlled  fonvards  by  the  multitude,  without  any 
counteracting  infliience?  Seneca,  Ejiist.  29.  This 
discouraires  many,  thev  are  loth  to  be  singular,  to  be 
solitan- ;  but  instead  of  stumbling  at  this,  say  i-ather 
if  so  few  are  going  to  heaven,  there  shall  be  one  the 
more  for  me. 

[2.1  Let  us  5ee  what  there  is  in  this  way,  which, 
notwithstanding  this,  should  invite  us  all  to  it ;  it 
leads  to  life,  to  present  comfort  in  the  favour  of  God, 
which  is  the  life  of  the  soul ;  to  eternal  bliss ;  the 
hope  of  which  at  the  end  of  our  wav,  should  recon- 
cile us  to  all  the  difficulties  and  inconveniences  of  the 
read.  T^ife  and  godliness  are  put  together ;  (2  Pet. 
1.5.)  The  gate  is  strait  and  the  way  narrow,  and 
up  hill,  but  one  hour  in  heaven  will  make  amends 
frrall. 
2.  The  great  concern  and  duty  of  every  one  of  us, 

Vol.  v. — L 


in  consideration  of  all  this ;  Unter  ye  in  at  the  strait 

gate.  The  matter  is  fairly  stated ;  life  and  death, 
giKid  and  evil,  are  set  before  us,  both  the  ways,  and 
ijoth  the  ends:  now  let  the  matter  be  takcn'cntire, 
iuid  considered  impartiall\',  and  tlieii  choose  you  this 
<lay  which  you  will  walk  in  ;  nay,  the  matter  deter- 
mines itselt,  and  will  not  admit  of  a  debate.  No 
man,  in  his  wits,  would  choose  to  go  to  the  gallows, 
because  it  is  a  smooth,  pleasant  way  to  it,  nor  refuse 
the  iiffer  of  a  palace  and  a  throne,  because  it  is  a 
rough,  dirty  way  to  it ;  yet  such  absurdities  as  these 
are  men  guilty  of,  in  the  concenis  of  tlieir  souls. 
Delay  not,  therefore ;  deliberate  not  any  longer,  but 
enter  ye  in  at  the  strait  gate;  knock  at  it  by  sincere 
and  constant  pra\ers  and  endeavours,  and  it  shall 
be  ojiened  ;  nay,  a  wide  door  shall  be  ojiencd,  and 
an  effectual  one.  It  is  tnie,  we  can  neither  go  in, 
nor  go  on,  without  the  assistance  of  divine  grace ; 
but  it  is  as  tnie,  that  grace  is  freel_\'  offered,  and  shall 
not  be  wanting  to  those  that  seek  it,  and  submit  to 
it.  Conversion  is  hard  work,  but  it  is  needful,  and, 
blessed  be  God,  it  is  not  impossible  if  we  strive,  Luke 
13.  24. 

15.  Beware  of  false  prophets,  which 
come  lo  you  in  sheep's  clothine;,  Init  in- 
wardly they  are  ravening  w  oh  cs  :  1 6.  Ye 
shall  know'  tliem  by  their  fruits.  Do  men 
gather  grapes  of  thorns,  or  figs  of  thistles  ? 
17.  Even  so  e\  ery  good  tree  bringeth  forth 
good  frnit ;  but  a  corrupt  tree  bringeth  forth 
evil  frnit.  18.  A  good  tree  cannot  bring 
forth  evil  fruit,  neither  can  a  corrupt  tree 
bring  forth  good  fruit.  1 9.  Every  tree  that 
bringeth  not  forth  good  fruit,  is  hewn  dowai, 
and  cast  into  the  fire.  20.  Wherefore  by 
tlieir  fruits  ye  shall  know  them. 

W'c  have  here  a  caution  a^amst  false  firofihets,  to 
take  heed  that  we  be  not  decei\  ed  and  imposed  upon 
bv  them.  Prophets  are  properly  such  as  foretell 
things  to  come ;  there  are  some  mentioned  in  thp 
Old  Test:unent,  who  pretended  to  that  without  war- 
rant, and  the  event  disproved  their  pretensions,  as 
V.edekiah,  1  Kings  52.  11.  and  another  Zedekiah, 
jer.  29.  21.  Butfiro/ihets  did  also  leach  the  people 
their  duty,  so  thaX  false  firojihets  h-"  e  are  false  teach- 
ers. Ch'rist  being  a  Prcphet  anti  a  Teacher  come 
from  God,  and  designing  to  send  abroad  teachers 
under  him,  gi\es  waniing  to  all  to  take  heed  of  coun- 
terfeits, who,  instead  of  healing  souls  with  whole- 
some doctrine,  as  thev  pretend,  would  poison  them. 

They  are  false  teachei-s  and  false  prophets,  1. 
^^'llo  produce  false  compiissions,  who  pretend  to 
ha\c  immediate  wairant  and  direction  from  God  to 
set  up  {oY  prophets,  and  to  be  diAinel>-  ins])ircd,  when 
thev  are  not  so.  Though  their  doctrine  may  be  tnie, 
we  'are  to  beware  of  them  as  false  prophets.  False 
apostles  are  those  who  say  they  are  apostles,  and  are 
yiot ;  (Rev.  2.  2.)  such  are  false  prophets.  "  Take 
heed  of  those  who  pretend  to  revelation,  and  admit 
them  not  without  sufficient  proof,  lest  that  one  ab- 
surditv  being  admitted,  a  thousand  follow. "  2.  \Mio 
preach  false  doctrine  in  those  things  that  are  essen- 
tial to  religion  ;  who  teach  that  which  is  contraiy  to 
the  truth  as  it  is  in  .Tesus,  to  the  truth  which  is  accord- 
ing to  godliness.  The  former  seems  to  be  the  jiro- 
pcr  notion,  ofpseudcpropheta,  a  false  or  pretending 
prophet,  but  commonlv  the  latter  falls  in  with  it ;  for 
who  woidd  hang  out  'false  colours,  but  with  design, 
under  pretence  of  them,  the  more  successfully  to 
attack  the  tnith.  "  WeW,  beware  of  them,  susnect 
them,  trv  them,  and  when  vou  have  discovered  their 
falsehoocl,  avoid  them,  have  nothing  to  do  with  thenu 


82 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VII. 


Stand  upon  your  guard  against  tliistemptation,  which 
commonly  attends  the  days  of  reformation,  and  the 
breathings  out  of  divine  light  in  more  than  ordinary 
strength  and  splendour. "  When  God's  work  is  re- 
vived, Satan  and  his  agents  are  most  busy.  Here  is, 
I.  A  good  reason  for  this  caution  ;  Bevjare  q/'them, 
for  they  are  luolves  in  sheefi's  clothing,  v.  15. 

1.  We  have  need  to  be  very  cautious,  because 
their  pretences  are  very  fair  and  plausible,  and  such 
as  will  deceive  us,  if  we  be  not  upon  our  guard. 
They  come  in  sheeji's  clothing,  in  the  habit  of  pro- 
fihets,  which  was  plain,  and  coarse,  and  unwrought ; 
they  nvear  a  rough  garment  to  deceix>e,  Zeoh.  13.  4. 
Elijah's  mantle  the  Septuagint  calls  I'l  fxuKu-ri — a 
sheefi-skin  mantle.  We  must  take  heed  of  being 
imposed  upon  by  men's  dress  and  garb,  as  by  that  of 
the  Scribes,  who  desire  to  nvalk  in  long  robes,  Luke 
20.  46.  Or  it  may  be  taken  figuratively  ;  they  pre- 
tend to  be  sheep,  and  outwardly  appear  so  innocent, 
harmless;  meek,  useful,  and  all  that  is  good,  as  to 
be  excelled  by  none ;  they  feign  themselves  to  be 
just  men,  and  for  the  sake  of  their  clothing  are  ad- 
mitted among  the  sheep,  which  gives  them  an  op- 
portunity of  doing  them  a  mischief  ere  they  are 
aware.  They  and  their  errors  are  gilded  with  the 
specious  pretences  of  sanctity  and  devotion.  Satan 
turns  himself  into  an  angel  of  light,  2  C^or.  11.  13, 
14.  The  enemy  has  horns  like  a  lamb  ;  (Rev.  13. 
11.)  faces  of  men.  Rev.  9.  T,  8.  Seducers  in  lan- 
guage and  carriage  are  soft  as  nvool,  Rom.  16.  18. 
Isa.  30.  10. 

2.  Because  under  these  pretensions  their  designs 
are  very  malicious  and  mischievous ;  iniuardly  they 
are  ravening  nvohies.  Every  hyfiocrite  is  a  goat  in 
sheep's  clothing,  but  a  false  firojihet  is  a  wolf  in 
sheep's  clothing ;  not  only  not  a  sheep,  but  the  worst 
enemy  the  sheep  has,  that  comes  not  but  to  tear  and 
devour,  to  scatter  the  shee/i,  (John  10.  12.)  to  drive 
them  from  God,  and  from  one  another,  into  crooked 
paths.  They  that  would  cheat  us  of  any  truth,  and 
possess  us  with  error,  whatever  they  pretend,  design 
mischief  to  our  souls.  Paul  calls  them  grievous 
■wolves.  Acts  20.  29.  They  raven  for  themselves, 
serve  their  own  belly,  (Rom.  16.  18.)  make  a  prev 
of  you,  make  a  gain  of  you.  Now  since  it  is  so  easy 
a  thing,  and  withal  so  dangerous,  to  be  cheated.  Be- 
ware of  false  prophets. 

II.  Here  is  a  good  i-ule  to  go  by  in  this  caution  ; 
we  must  prove  all  things ;  (1  Thess.  5.  21.)  try  the 
spirits ;  (1  John  4.  1.)  and  here  we  have  a  touch- 
stone ;  ye  shall  kyioiv  them  by  their  fruits,  v.  16 — 20. 
Observe, 

1.  The  illustration  of  this  comparison,  of  the  fruit's 
being  the  discovery  of  the  tree.  You  cannot  always 
distinguish  them  by  their  bark  and  leaves,  nor  6y 
the  spreading  of  their  boughs,  but  by  their  fruits  ye 
shall  know  them.  The  fniit  is  according  to  the  tree. 
Men  may,  in  their  professions,  put  a  force  upon  their 
nature,  and  contradict  their  inward  principles,  but 
the  stream  and  bent  of  their  practices  will  agree 
with  them.  Christ  insists  upon  this,  the  agrceable- 
ness  between  the  fruit  and  the  tree,  which  is  such, 
as  that,  (1.)  If  you  know  what  the  tree  is,  vou  may 
know  what  fmit  to  expect  Never  look  to  gather 
grapes  from  thorns,  nor  Jigs  from  thistles ;  it  is  not 
in  their  nature  to  pixxluce  such  fruits.  An  apple 
may  be  stuck,  or  a  bunch  of  grapes  may  hang,  upon 
a  thorn ;  so  may  a  good  truth,  a  good  word  or  action, 
be  found  in  an  ill  man,  but  you  may  be  sure  it  never 
grew  there.  Note,  [1.]  Corrupt,' vicious,  unsanc- 
tified  hearts  are  like  thorns  and  thistles,  which  came 
in  with  sin,  are  worthless,  vexing,  and  for  the  fire 
at  last  [2.  ]  Good  works  are  good  fruit,  like  grapes 
and  figs,  pleasing  to  God  and  profitable  to  men. 
13.]  This  good  fruit  is  never  to  be  expected  from 
bad  men,  any  more  than  a  clean  thing  out  of  an  un- 
clean: they  want  an  influencing,  acceptable  princi- 1 


pie :  out  of  an  evil  treasure  will  be  brought  forth  er>d 
things.     (2.)  On  the  other  hand,  if  you  know  what 
the  fruit  is,  you  may,  by  that,  perceive  what  the 
tree  is.     yl  good  tree  cannot  bring  forth  evil  fruit ; 
nay,  it  cannot  but  bring  forth  good  fruit ;  and  a  cor- 
rupt tree  cannot  bring  forth  good  fruit ;  nay,  it  can- 
not but  bring  forth  ei'il  fruit ;  but  then  that  must  be 
reckoned  the  fruit  of  tbe  tree,  which  it  brings  forth 
naturally,  and  which  is  its  genuine  product,  and 
which  it  brings  forth  plentifully  and  constantly,  and 
is  its  usual  product     Men  are  known,  not  by  partiA 
cular  acts,  but  by  the  course  and  tenor  of  their  con- 1 
versation,  and  by  the  more  frequent  acts,  especially  j 
those  that  appear  to  be  free,  and  most  their  own,  1 
and  least  under  the  influence  of  external  motives  j 
and  inducements.  

2.  The  application  of  this  to  the  false  prophets. 

(1.)  By  way  of  teiTOr  and  threatening;  (y.  19.) 
every  tree  that  brings  not  forth  good  fruit  is  hewn 
down.  This  very  saying  John  the  Baptist  had  used, 
ch.  3.  10.  Christ  could  have  spoken  the  same  sense 
in  other  words ;  could  have  altered  it,  or  gi\en  it  a 
new  turn ;  but  he  thought  it  no  disparagement  to  him 
to  say  the  same  that  John  had  said  before  him  :  let 
not  ministers  be  ambitious  of  coining  new  expres- 
sions, nor  people's  ears  itch  for  novelties  ;  to  write 
and  speak  the  same  things  must  not  be  giievous,  for 
it  is  safe.  Here  is,  [1.  ]  The  description  of  barren 
trees;  they  are  trees  tliat  do  not  bring  forth  good 
fruit:  though  there  be  fniit,  if  it  be  not  good  fruit, 
(though  that  be  done,  which  for  the  matter  ot  it  is 
good,  if  it  be  not  done  well,  in  a  right  manner,  and 
for  a  right  end,)  the  tree  is  accounted  barren.  [2.] 
The  doom  of  barren  trees ;  they  are,  that  is,  certainly 
they  shall  be,  hewn  down,  and  cast  into  thejirc:  God 
will  deal  with  them  as  men  use  to  deal  with  diy 
trees  that  cumber  the  ground :  he  will  mark  tliem 
by  some  signal  tokens  of  his  displeasure  ;  he  will  bark 
them  by  stripping  them  of  their  parts  and  gifts,  will 
cut  them  down  by  death,  and  cast  them  into  the  fire 
of  hell,  a  fire  blown  with  the  bellows  of  God's  wrath, 
and  fed  with  the  wood  of  ban-en  trees.  Compare 
this  with  Ezek.  31.  12,  13.  Dan.  4.  14.  John  15.  6. 

(2.)  By  way  of  trial ;  by  their  fruits  ye  shall  know 
them. 

[1.]  By  the  fruits  of  their  persons,  their  words^ 
and  actions,  and  the  course  of  their  conversation.  It 
you  would  know  whether  they  be  right  or  not,  ob- 
serve how  they  live  ;  their  works  will  testify  for  them  / 
or  against  them.  The  Scribes  and  Pharisees  sat  iiT 
Moses's  chair,  and  taught  the  law,  but  they  were 
proud,  and  covetous,  and  false,  and  oppressive,  and 
therefore  Christ  warned  his  disciples  to  beware  of 
them  and  of  their  leaven,  Mark  12.  38.  If  men  pre- 
tend to  be  pro])hets  and  are  immoral,  tliat  dispixives 
their  pretensions ;  they  are  no  tnie  friends  to  the 
cross  of  Christ,  whatever  they  profess,  whose  God 
is  their  belly,  and  who  mind  earthly  things,  Phil.  3. 
18,  19.  Thev  are  not  taught  nor  sent  of  the  holy 
God,  whose  lives  e\idence  that  they  are  led  by  the 
unclean  spirit  God  puts  the  treasure  into  earthen 
\'essels,  but  not  into  such  coiTupt  vessels :  they  may 
declare  God's  statutes,  but  what  have  they  to  do  to 
declare  them } 

[2.  ]  By  the  fruits  of  their  doctrine  ;  their  fruits  as 
prophets  :  not  that  this  is  the  only  way,  but  it  is  one 
way  of  tiying  doctrines,  whether  they  be  of  God  or 
got  WTiat  do  they  tend  to  ?  What  affections  and 
practices  will  they  lead  those  into,  that  embrace 
them  ?  If  the  doctrine  be  of  God,  it  will  tend  to  pro- 
mote serious  piety,  humility,  charity,  holiness,  and  ' 
love,  with  other  christian  gi-aces ;  but  if,  on  the  con- 
trary', the  doctrines  these  prophets  preach  liave  a 
manifest  tendency  to  make  people  proud,  worldly, 
and  contentious,  to  make  them  loose  and  careless  in 
their  conversations,  unjust  or  uncharitable,  factious 
or  disturbers  of  the  public  peace ;  if  it  indulge  carnal 


ST.  MATTHEW,  \  11. 


83 


liberty,  and  take  people  off  from  governing  them- 
selves and  their  families  by  the  strict  i-ules  of  the 
narrow  r.'uy,  we  may  conclude,  that  t/iis  firrsiiasion 
comes  not  of  Mm  tliat  calleth  us.  Gal.  5.  8.  This 
wisdom  is  not  from  above,  James  3.  15.  Faith  and 
a  good  conscience  arc  held  together,  1  Tim.  1.  19. — 
3.  9.  Note,  Doctrines  of  doubtful  dis/iutalion  must 
be  tried  by  graces  and  duties  of  confessed  certainty  : 
those  opinions  come  not  from  God  tliat  le;id.to  sin  : 
but  if  we  cannot  k-now  them  by  their  fruits,  we  must 
have  recourse  to  the  great  touchstone,  to  the  law, 
and  to  the  testimonj- :  do  they  speak  according  to 
that  rule .' 

21.  Not  everyone  that  saith  unto  nie, 
Lord,  Lord,  sliall  enter  into  tlic  kingdom 
of  lieavcn  ;  l)ut  lie  tliat  doetli  the  will  of  my 
Father  uliieh  is  in  heaven.  2'2.  Many 
w  ill  say  to  me  in  that  day.  Lord,  Lord, 
have  we  not  prophesied  in  thy  name  I  and 
in  thy  name  have  cast  out  devils  .'  and  in 
tliy  name  done  many  wonderful  works  ? 
23.  And  then  will  I  profess  unto  them,  I 
nc\  er  knew  you  :  depart  from  me,  ye  that 
work  iniquity.  24.  Therefore  whosoever 
heareth  these  sayings  of  mine,  and  -tloeth 
them,  I  will  liken  him  unto  a  wise  man, 
which  built  his  house  upon  a  rock :  25. 
And  the  rain  descended,  and  the  floods 
came,  and  the  winds  blew,  and  beat  upon 
that  house ;  and  it  fell  not :  for  it  was  found- 
ed upon  a  rock :  26.  And  every  one  that 
heareth  these  sayings  of  mine,  and  doeth 
them  not,  shall  be  likened  unto  a  foolish 
man,  which  built  his  house  upon  the  sand : 
27.  And  the  rain  descended,  and  the  floods 
came,  and  the  winds  blew,  and  beat  upon 
that  house ;  and  it  fell :  and  great  was  the 
fall  of  it.  28.  And  it  came  to  pass,  when 
Jesus  had  ended  these  sayings,  the  people 
were  astonished  at  his  doctrine  :  29.  For 
he  taught  them  as  one  having  authority,  and 
not  as  the  Scribes. 

We  have  here  the  conclusion  of  this  long  and  ex- 
cellent sermon,  the  scope  of  which  is  to  show  the 
indispensable  necessity  of  obedience  to  the  com- 
mands of  Christ ;  this  is  designed  to  clench  the  nail, 
that  it  might  fix  in  a  sure  place  :  he  speaks  this  to 
his  disciples  that  sat  at  his  feet,  wherever  he  preach- 
ed, and  followed  him  wherever  he  went.  Had  he 
sought  his  own  praise  among  men,  he  would  have 
said,  that  was  enough  ;  but  the  religion  he  came  to 
estaljlish,  is  in  power,  not  in  word  only,  (1  Cor.  4. 
20. )  and  therefore  something  more  is  necessary. 

I.  He  shows,  by  a  plain  remonstrance,  that  an 
outward  profession  of  religion,  however  remarkable, 
^^^ll  not  bring  us  to  heaven,  unless  there  be  a  corre- 
spondent conversation,  w  21 — 23.  All  judgment  is 
committed  to  our  Loi-d  Jesus ;  the  keys  are  put  int« 
his  hand  ;  he  has  power  to  prescribe  new  terms  of 
life  and  death,  and  to  judge  men  according  to  them  : 
now  this  is  a  solemn  declaration  pursuant  to  that 
power.     Observe  here, 

1.  Christ's  law  laid  down,  v.  21.  .^'b;  every  one 
that  sailh,  Lord,  Lord,  shall  enter  into  the  kingdom 
of  heaven,  into  the  kingdom  o/"  grace  and  glory.  It 
is  an  answer  to  that  question,  Psal.  15.  1.  It'ho  shall 
tojoum  in  thy  tabernacle  ? — the  church  militant,  and 


who  shall  dwell  in  thy  holy  hill? — the  church  trium- 
jihant.     Christ  here  shows,         ' 

(1.)  That  it  will  not  suffice  to  say.  Lord,  Lord; 
in  woixl  and  tongue  to  own  Christ  for  our  Master, 
and  to  make  addi-esses  to  him,  aiid  professions  of 
him  accordingly  ;  in  prayer  to  God,  in  discourse 
with  men,  we  must  call  Christ,  Lord,  Lord ;  we 
siiu  well,  for  so  he  is;  (John  13.  13. )  l)iit  can  we  ima- 
gine that  this  is  enough  to  bring  us  to  hea\  en,  that 
sucli  a  piece  of  foi-mality  as  this  should  be  so  rccom- 

t)ensed,  or  that  he  who  knows  and  requires  the 
leart,  should  be  so  put  off  with  shows  for  substance  .■■ 
Comijliments  among  men  are  ])icccs  of  ci\  ility  that 
are  returned  with  compliments,  but  they  are  ne\  er 
paid  as  real  ser\  ices  ;  and  can  they  then  be  of  any 
account  with  Christ  ?  There  may  be  a  seeming  im- 
portunit\-  in  prayer,  Lord,  Lord:  Ijut  if  inward 
impressions  be  not  answerable  to  outward  porpres- 
sions,  we  are  but  as  sounding  brass  and  a  tinkling 
cymbal.  This  is  not  to  take  us  off  from  saying, 
Lord,  Lord ;  from  praying,  and  being  earnest  m 

Cra\er,  from  professing  Christ's  name,  and  being 
old  in  professing  it,  but  from  resting  in  tliese,  in  the 
form  of  godliness,  without  the  /tower. 

(2. )  riiat  it  is  necessary  to  our  hapjiincss  that  wc 
do  the  will  of  Clirist,  which  is  indeed  the  will  of  his 
Lather  in  heaven.  The  will  of  (iod,  as  Christ's  Fa- 
ther, is  his  will  in  the  gospel,  for  there  he  is  made 
known,  as  the  Father  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ :  and 
in  him  our  Fatlier,  Now  this  is  his  will,  tliat  wc 
believe  in  Christ,  that  we  repent  of  sin,  that  we  live 
a  holv  life,  that  we  love  one  another.  This  is  his  will, 
even  our  sanclijication.  If  wc  comply  not  with  the 
will  of  God,  wc  mock  Christ  in  calling  him  Lord, 
as  thev  did,  who  put  on  him  a  gorgeous  robe,  and 
said,  flail,  King  of  the  Jews.-  Saying  and  doing  are 
two  things,  often  parted  in  the  con\ersation  of  men: 
he  that  said,  /.g-o,  sir,  stirred  never  a  step  ;  (c /j.  21. 30. ) 
but  these  two  things  God  has  joined  in  his  command, 
and  let  no  man  that /n;/«  them  asunder X\\in\iX.oenter 
into  the  kingdom  of  heaven. 

2.  The  hvprocite's  plea  against  the  strictness  of 
this  law,  offering  other  things  in  lieu  of  obedience, 
V.  22.  The  plea  is  supposed  to  be  in  that  day,  that 
great  day,  when  every  m.in  shall  appear  in  his  own 
colours  ;  when  the  secrets  of  all  hearts  shall  be  mani- 
fest, and  among  the  rest,  the  secret  pretences  with 
which  sinners  now  support  their  vain  hopes.  Christ 
knows  the  strength  of  their  cause,  and  it  is  but 
weakness  :  what  thev  now  harbour  in  their  bosoms, 
thev  will  then  produce  in  an-est  of  judgment  to  stay 
the' doom,  but  it  will  be  in  vain.  They  nut  in  their 
plea  with  great  importunity.  Lord,  Lord  ;  and  with 
great  confidence,  appealing  to  Christ  concerning  it ; 
Lord,  dost  not  thou  know,  (1.)  That  we  have  firo- 
fihesied  in  thy  name?  Yes,  it  may  be  so,  Balaam  and 
Caiaphas  were  overruled  to  prophesy,  and  Saul  was 
against  his  will  among  the  firofihels,  yet  that  did  not 
sa%e  them.  These  firo/ihesied  in  his  name,  but  he 
did  not  send  them  ;  thev  oiilv  made  use  of  his  name 
to  sei-ve  a  turn.  Note,  A  man  may  be  a  preacher, 
mav  have  gifts  for  the  ministn",  and  an  extemal  call 
to  it,  and  perhaps  some  success  in  it,  and  yet  be  a 
wicked  man  ;  mav  help  others  to  heaven, 'and  yet 
come  short  himself.  (2.)  Th.it  in  thy  name  we  have 
cast  out  devils?  That  may  be  too  ;  Judas  cast  out 
dex'i/s,  and  yet  a  son  of  /lerdition.  Origen  says,  that 
in  his  time  so  prevalent  was  the  name  of  Christ  to 
cast  out  dex'ils,  that  sometimes  it  availed  when  named 
bv  wicked  christians.  A  man  might  cast  devils  out 
of  others,  and  \et  have  a  de\il,  nay,  and  be  a  devil 
himself.  (3.)  That  in  thy  name  we  have  done  many 
wonderful  works.  There  mav  be  a  faith  of  miracles, 
where  there  is  no  justifying  faith  ;  none  of  that  faith 
which  works  bii  love  and  obedience.  Gifts  of  tongue? 
.and  healing  would  recommend  men  to  the  world, 
but  it  is  only  real  holiness  and  sanctification  that  i;  ic  • 


84 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VII. 


cepted  of  God.  Grace  and  love  are  a  nwre  excellent 
ivay  than  removing-  inountains,  or  speaking  ivith  the 
tongues  of  men  and  angels,  1  Cor.  13.  1,  2.  Grace 
will  bring  a  man  to  heaven  without  woi-king  mira- 
cles, but  working  miracles  will  ne\-er  bring  a  man  to 
heaven  without  grace.  Observe,  That  which  their 
heart  was  upon,  in  doing  these  works,  and  which 
they  confided  in,  was  the  wonderfulness  of  them. 
Simon  Magus  wondered  at  the  miracles,  (Acts  8. 
13.)  and  tlicrefore  would  give  any  money  for  power 
to  do  the  like.  Observe,  They  had  not  many  good 
works  to  plead :  they  could  not  pretend  to  have 
done  manv  gi'acious  works  of  piety  and  charity  ;  one 
sucli  would  have  passed  better  in  their  account  than 
many  wonderful  ivorks,  which  availed  not  at  all, 
while  they  persisted  in  disobedience.  Miracles  have 
now  ceased,  and  with  tliem  this  plea ;  but  do  not 
carnal  hearts  still  encourage  themsehes  in  their 
groundless  hopes,  with  the  like  vain  supports  ?  They 
think  they  shall  go  to  heaven,  because  they  have 
been  of  good  repute  among  professors  of  religion, 
ha\'e  kc])t  fasts  and  given  alms,  and  have  been  pre- 
ferred in  the  church  ;  as  if  this  would  atone  for  their 
reigning  pride,  worldliness  and  sensuality,  and  want 
of  love  to  God  and  man.  Bethel  is  their  confidence, 
(Jer.  48.  13.)  thev  are  haughty  because  of  the  holy 
mountain  ;  (Zeph.  3.  11.)  and  boast  that  they  are 
the  temple  of  the  Lord,  Jer.  ".  4.  Let  us  take  heed 
of  resting  in  external  privileges  and  pcrfoi-mances, 
lest  nve  deceive  ourselves,  and  perisii  eternally  as 
multitudes  do,  ivith  a  lie  in  our  right  hand. 

3.  The  rejection  of  tliis  plea  as  frivolous.     The 
same  that  is  tlie  Law-Maker,  (t.  21.)  is  here  the 
Judge  according  to  that  law,  (xk  23.)  and  he  will 
overi-ule  the  plea,  will  overi-ule  it  publicly  ;  he  ii'ill 
firofess  to  them  with  all  possil)le  solemnity,  as  sen- 
tence is  passed  by  the  Judge,  I?2ever  knevj  you,  and 
therefore  dejiart  from  me,  ye  that  ivork  iniquity. 
Obscn-e,  (1.)  Why,  and  upon  what  ground,  he  re- 
jects them  and  their  plea — because  they  were  rjork- 
ers  of  inicjuity.    Note,  It  is  possible  for  men  to  have 
a  great  name  for  piety,  and  yet  to  be  it'orkers  of  ini- 
quity ;  and  those  that  are  so  will  receive  the  greater 
damnation.    Secret  haunts  of  sin,  kept  up  under  the 
cloak  of  a  visible  profession,  will  be  the  ruin  of  hy- 
pocrites.    Living  ui  known  sin  nullifies  men's  pre- 
tensions, be  they  ever  so  specious.     (2.)  How  it  is 
expressed,  I  ner<er  knew  you ;  "  I  never  owned  you 
as  my  servants,  no,  not  when  yon  /iro/ihesied  in  my 
name,  when  you  were  in  the  height  of  your  profes- 
sion, and  were  most  extolled."  This  intimates,  that 
if  he  had  ever  known  them,  as  the  Lord  knows  them 
that  are  his,  had  ever  owned  them  and  loved  them 
as  his,  he  would  have  known  tlicm,  and  owned  them, 
and  loved  them,  to  the  end  :  but  he  nex'er  did  know 
them,  for  he  always  knew  them  to  be  hypocrites, 
and  i-ottcn  at  heart,  as  he  did  Judas,  therefore,  says 
he,   defiarf  from   7ne.     Has  Christ  need  of  such 
guests  ?  \Vhen  he  came  in  the  flesh,  he  called  sin- 
ners to  him,  (cA.  9.  13.)  butro/jen  he  shall  come  again 
in  glory,  he  will  drive  sinners  from  him.     They 
that  would  not  come  tohim  to  be  saved,  must  defiart 
from  him  to  be  damned.     To  defiart  from  Christ  is 
the  very  hell  of  hell ;  it  is  the  foundation  of  all  the 
misei-y  of  the  damned,  to  be  cut  off  from  all  hope  of 
benefit  from  Christ  and  his  mediation,    jl'hose  that) 
/'go  no  further  in  Christ's  service  th.an  a  bare  profes- 
!  sion,  he  does  not  accept,  nor  will  he  own  them  in  the 
\great  day.     See  from  what  a  height  of  hope  men 
'    may  fall  into  the  depth  of  miseiy !  How  thev  may 
go  to  hell,  by  the  gates  of  heaven  !    This  should  be 
an  awakening  word  to  all  christians.  If  a  preacher, 
one  that  cast  out  devils,  and  wrought  miracles,  be 
diso%vned  of  Christ  for  working  iniquity  ;  what  will 
become  of  us,  if  we  be  found  such  ?  And  if  we  be 
such,  we  shall  certainly  be  found  such.     At  God's 
bar,  a  profession  of  religion  will  not  bear  out  any 


man  in  tlie  practice  and  indulgence  of  sin  :  there 
fore  let  every  one  that  ?iames  the  name  of  Christ, 
defiart  from  all  inicjuiti). 

II.  He  shows,  b  \  a  parable,  that  hearing  these  say- 
ings of  Christ  will  not  make  us  happy,  it  we  do  not 
make  conscience  of  doing  them  ;  but  that  if  we  hear 
them  and  do  them,  we  are  blessed  in  our  deed,  v. 
24— 2r. 

1.  The  hearers  of  Christ's  word  are  here  dhided 
into  two  sorts  ;  some  that  hear,  and  do  what  they 
hear  ;  others  that  hear,  and  do  not.  Christ  preach- 
ed now  to  a  mixed  multitude,  and  he  thus  separates 
them  one  from  the  other,  as  he  will  at  the  gi-eat  day, 
when  all  nations  shall  be  gathered  before  him.  Christ 
is  still  speaking  from  hea^■en  by  his  word  and  Spirit, 
speaks  by  ministers,  by  providences,  and  of  those 
that  hear  him  there  are  two  sorts. 

(1.)  Some  that  hear  his  sayings  and  do   them: 
blessed  be  God  that  there  are  any  such,  though  com- 
paratively few.     To  hear  Christ,  is  not  barely  to 
give  him  the  hearing,  but  to  obey  him.     Is'ote,  It 
highly  concerns  us  all  to  do  what  we  hear  of  the  say- 
i?igs  of  Christ.     It  is  a  mercy  that  we  hear  his  say- 
ings: Blessed  are  those  ears,'ch.  13.  16,  17.     But  "if 
we  practise  not  what  we  hear  we  receri'e  that  grace 
in  vain.    To  do  Christ's  sayings  is  conscientiously  XXk 
abstain  from  the  sins  that  he  forbids,  and  to  perform  I 
the  duties  that  he  requires.  Our  thoughts  and  afFec-  | 
tions,  our  words  and  actions,  the  temper  of  our  J 
minds,  and  the  tenor  of  our  lives,  must  be  conforma-j 
ble  to  the  gospel  of  Christ ;  that  is  the  doing  he  re- 
quires. /  All  the  sayings  of  Christ,  not  only  the  Iaws\ 
he  has'enacted,  but  the  tniths  he  has  revealed,  must  1 
be  done  by  us.     They  are  a  light,  not  only  to  ou?  I 
ci/fs,  but  to  our  feet,  and  are  designed  not  only  to  I 
(Viform  our  judgments,  but  to  rf form  our  hearts  and  I 
lives  :  nor  cio  v.e  indeed  believe  them,  if  we  do  not  I 
live  up  to  them.  |  Obser\  e.  It  is  not  enough  to  hear  J 
Christ's  sayings,  and  understand  them,  hear  them,  / 
and  remember  them,  hear  th;m,  and  talk  of  them, 
repeat  them,  dispute  for  them  ;  but  we  must  hear, 
and  do  them.     This  do  and  thou  shalt  live.     Those/ 
only  that  hear,  and  do,  are  blessed,  (Luke  11.  28> 
John  13.  IT.)  and  are  akin  to  Christ,  ch.  12.  50. 

(2.)  There  are  others  who /jfc;- Christ's  soym^g 
and  do  them  not ;  their  religion  rests  in  bare  hear- 
ing,  and  goes  no  further ;  like  children  that  have 
the  rickets,  their  heads  swell  with  emptv  notions, 
and  indigested  opinions,  but  their  joints  are  weak, 
and  they  \\ea.y\  and  listless  ;  they  neither  ran  stir, 
nor  care'  to  stir,  in  any  good  duty'-;  thnj  hear  God's 
words,  as  if  they  desired  to  k?iow  his'waifs,  like  a 
people  that  did  righteousness,  but  then  will  not  do 
them,  Ezek.  33.  30,  31.  Isa.  58.  2.  "  Thus  thev 
deceive  themselves,  as  Micah,  who  thought  himself 
happy,  because  he  had  a  Levite  to  be  his  priest, 
though  he  had  not  the  Lord  to  be  his  God.  The 
seed  is  sown,  but  it  never  comes  up  ;  thev  see  their 
spots  in  the  glass  of  the  word,  but  wash  them  not  • 
off.  Jam.  1.  22,  24.  Thus  thev  put  a  cheat  upon  their 
own  snuls;  for  it  is  certain,  if  our  hearing  be  not  the 
means  of  our  obedience,  it  will  be  the  aggravation  of 
our  disobedience.  Those  who  onlv  hear  Christ's 
sayings,  and  do  them  not,  sit  down  in  the  midway  to 
heaven,  and  that  will  never  bring  them  to  tlieir 
joumey's  end.  They  are  akin  to  Christ  only  bv  the 
half-blood,  and  our  law  allows  not  such  to  iiiherit. 

2.  These  two  sorts  of  heai-ers  are  here  I'eprcsent- 
ed  in  their  true  characters,  and  the  state  of  their 
case,  under  the  comparison  of  two  builders :  one 
was  Ti'Wf,  and  built  upon  a  rock,  and  his  building 
stood  in  a  stoi-m  ;  the  other  foolish,  and  built  upon 
the  sand,  and  his  building  fell. 

Now,  (1.)  The  genei-al  scope  of  this  parable 
teaches  us  that  the  onlv  way  to  make  sure  work  for 
our  souls  and  eternity  is,  to  hear  and  do  the  sayings 
of  the  Lord  Jesus,  these  sayings  of  h\s'm  this  sermon 


V 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VII. 


85 


upon  the  mount,  wliich  is  wholly  practical  ;  some  of 
them  seem  hanl  sayings  to  flcsli  and  blood,  but  they 
must  be  done  ;  and  thus  we  lay  u/i  in  store  a  good 
foundation  for  the  time  to  come;  (1  Tim.  6.  19.)  a 
^ood  bond,  so  some  read  it ;  a  bond  of  (jod's  mak- 
ing, which  secures  salvation  upon  gospel-terms,  that 
is  a  good  bond  ;  not  one  of  our  own  devising,  w  hich 
brings  salvation  to  our  own  fancies.  They  make 
sure  the  good  fiart,  who,  like  Mar\-,  w  hen  they  hear 
the  word  of  Christ,  nit  at  his  fret  in  subjection  to  it  : 
Sfieak,  Lord,  for  thy  serranC  hears. 

(2. )  The  particular  parts  of  it  teach  us  divers  good 
le.ssons. 

[1.]  That  we  have  every  one  of  us  a  house  to 
build,  and  that  house  is  our  hope  for  heaven.  It 
ought  to  be  our  chief  and  constant  care,  to  make  our 
calling  and  election  sure,  and  so  we  make  our  SiU\  a- 
tjon  sure  ;  to  secure  a  title  to  heaven's  hajjpiness, 
:uid  then  to  get  the  comfortable  evidence  of  it ;  to 
make  it  sine,  and  sure  to  ourselves,  that  when  ive 
fail,  -ve  shall  be  received  into  everlasting  habitations. 
Manv  ne^•er  mind  this,  it  is  the  furthest  thing  from 
their  thoughts  ;  thev  are  building  for  this  world,  as 
if  thev  were  to  be  here  always,  but  take  no  care  to 
build  for  another  world.  All  who  take  upon  them 
a  profession  of  religion,  profess  to  inquire,  what  they 
shall  do  to  be  sax'ed  ;  l\ow  they  may  get  to  heaven 
at  last,  and  may  have  a  well-gi-ounded  hope  of  it  in 
•the  mean  time. 

[2.  ]  That  there  is  a  rock  pro\ided  for  us  to  build 
this  house  upon,  and  that  rock  is  Christ.  He  is  laid 
for  a  Foundation,  and  other  foundation  can  no  man 
lay,  Isa.  28.  16.  1  Cor.  3.  11.  He  is  our  ho/ie,  1 
Tim.  1.  1.  Christ  in  us  is  so  ;  we  must  gi-oimd  our 
hnpes  of  heaven  ujjon  the  fulness  of  Chiist's  merit, 
for  the  pardon  of  sin,  the  power  of  his  Spirit,  for 
the  sanctification  of  our  natm-e,  and  the  prevalency 
of  his  intercession,  for  the  con\eyance  of  all  that 
good  which  he  has  purchased  for  us.  Thei-e  is  that 
in  him,  as  he  is  made  knorcn,  and  made  over,  to  us 
in  the  gospel,  which  is  sufficient  to  redress  all  our 
grievances,  and  to  answer  all  the  necessities  of  our 
case,  so  that  he  is  a  Saviour  to  the  utter-most.  The 
church  is  built  ufion  this  Rock,  and  so  is  every-  be- 
liever. He  is  strong  and  immovable  as  a  rock  ;  we 
may  venture  our  all  upon  him,  and  shall  not  be  made 
ashamed  of  our  ho/ie. 

[3.  ]  That  there  is  a  remnant,  who  by  hearing  and 
domg  the  sayings  of  Christ,  build  their  hopes  v/ion 
this  Mock ;  and  it  is  their  wisdom.  Christ  is  our 
only  }\'ay  to  the  Father,  and  the  obedience  of  faith 
is  our  only  ti'qw  to  Christ  ;  for  to  them  that  obey  him, 
and  to  them  only,  he  becomes  the  Author  of  eternal 
salvation.  Those  build  u/ton  Christ,  who,  having 
sincerely  consented  to  him,  as  their  Prince  and  Sa- 
viour, make  it  their  constant  care  to  confoi-m  to  all 
the  niles  of  his  holy  religion,  and  therein  depend 
entirely  upon  him  for  assistance  from  God,  and  ac- 
ceptance with  him,  and  count  eveiy  thing  but  loss 
and  dung  that  they  may  win  Christ,  and  be  found 
in  him.  Building  u/ion  a  rock  requires  care  and 
])ains  :  they  that  would  make  their  calling  and  elec- 
tion sure,  must  give  diligence.  They  are  wise  build- 
ers who  begin  to  build  so  as  they  may  be  able  to 
finish,  (Luke  14.  30.)  and  therefore  lay  a  firm  foun- 
dation. 

[4.]  That  there  are  many  who  profess  that  they 
ho]5e  to  go  to  heaven,  but  despise  this  Rock,  and 
build  their  hopes  ufion  the  sand  ;  which  is  done  ^vith- 
out  much  pams,  but  it  is  their  folly.  Eveiy  thing 
besides  Christ  is  sand.  Some  build  their  hopes  upon 
their  worldly  prosperity,  as  if  that  were  a  sure  token 
of  God's  favour,  Hos.  12.  8.  Others  upon  their  ex- 
ternal profession  of  religion,  the  privileges  they 
enjov,  and  the  perfoiTnances  they  go  through,  in 
that  profession,  and  the  reputation  they  have  got  by 
\it    They  are  called  christians,  were  baptized,  go  to 


church,  hear  Christ's  word,  say  their  prayers,  and  \ 
do  nobod)  anv  harm,  and,  if  thev  perish,  God  help  ' 
a  great  n'ian\'.  This  is  the  light  of  their  own  fire, 
which  thev  walk  in  ;  this  is  that,  ujion  which,  with 
a  great  deal  of  assurance,  they  \  enture  ;  but  it  is  all 
Siuid,  too  weak  to  bear  such  a  fabric  as  our  hopes  of 
heaven. 

[5.]  That  there  is  a  storm  coming,  that  will  try 
what  oui-  hojjes  arc  bottomed  on  ;  will  try  e^ery 
man's  work  ;  (1  Cor.  3.  13.)  will  discover  the  foun- 
dation, Hab.  3.  13.  Rain,  and  ^floods,  and  wind, 
will  beat  n/ion  the  house  ;  the  tnal  is  sometimes  in 
this  world  ;  when  tribulation  and  fiersecution  arise 
because  of  the  word,  then  it  will  be  seen,  who  only 
heard  tlie  word,  and  who  heard  and  practised  it  ; 
then  when  we  have  occasion  to  use  our  hopes,  it 
will  be  tried,  whether  they  were  right,  and  well 
grounded,  or  not.  Howe\  er,  when  death  and  judg- 
ment come,  then  the  storm  comes,  and  it  will  un- 
doubtedlv  come,  how  calm  socvci-  things  nuiy  be 
with  us  liow.  Then  evei-y  thing  else  will  fail  us  but 
these  hopes,  and  then,  it"  ever,  they  will  be  turned 
into  everlasting  fiiiition. 

[6.]  That  those  hopes  which  are  built  upon 
Christ,  the  Rock,  will  stand,  and  will  stand  the 
builder  in  stead  when  the  storm  comes  ;  they  will 
be  his  preservation,  both  from  desei-tion,  and  from 
prevaihng  disquiet.  His  profession  will  not  wither ; 
his  comforts  will  not  fail ;  they  will  be  his  strength 
and  song,  as  an  anchor  of  the  soul,  sure  and  stead- 
fast. \\'\\en  he  comes  to  the  last  encounter,  those 
hopes  will  take  off  the  terror  of  death  and  the 
grave  ;  will  cany  him  cheei-fiilly  through  that  dark 
vallev  ;  will  be  approved  by  the  Judge  ;  will  staiid 
the  test  of  the  great  dav  ;  and  will  be  crowned  with 
endless  glon-,  2  Cor.  1.'  12.  2  Tim.  4.  ",  8.  Blessed 
is  that  seri'ant,  whom  his  Lord,  when  he  comes, 
finds  so  doing,  so  hoping. 

[".]  That  those  hopes  which  foolish  builders 
ground  upon  any  thing  but  Christ,  will  certainly  fail 
them  in  a  storm'v  dav  ;  will  yield  them  no  tiiie  com- 
fort and  satisfaction  In  trouble,  in  the  hour  of  death, 
and  in  the  dav  of  judgment ;  will  be  no  fence  against 
temptations  to  apostacv,  in  a  time  of  persecution. 
lliien  God  takes  away  the  soul,  where  is  the  hope  of 
the  hyfiocrite?  Job  27.  S.  It  is  as  the  s/iider's  web, 
and  as  the  gil'ing  v/i  of  the  ghost.  He  shall  lean 
ufion  his  house,  but  it  shall  not  stand.  Job  8. 14,  15. 
It  fell  in  the  storm,  when  the  builder  had  most  need 
of  it,  and  expected  it  wculd  be  a  shelter  to  him.  It 
fell  when  it  was  too  late  to  build  another :  when  a 
wicked  man  dies,  his  expectation  perishes ;  then, 
when  he  thought  it  would  have  been  turned  into  fru- 
ition, it  fell,  and  great  was  the  fall  of  it.  It  was  a 
great  disappointment  to  the  builder ;  the  shame  and 
loss  were  great.  The  higher  men's  hopes  have 
been  raised,  the  lower  the\-  fall.  It  is  the  sorest 
niin  of  all  that  attends  formal  professors;  witness 
C:ipemaum's  doom. 

ni.  In  the  two  last  vetoes,  we  are  told  what  im- 
pressions Christ's  discourse  made  upon  the  auditory. 
It  was  an  excellent  sermon  ;  and  it  is  probable  that 
he  said  more  than  is  here  recorded  ;  and  doubdess 
the  deliveiy  of  it  from  the  mouth  of  him,  into  whose 
lips  gi-ace  was  poured,  did  mightily  set  it  off.  >.'ow, 
1.  They  were  astonished  at  his  doctrine:  it  is  to  be 
feared  "that  few  of  them  were  brought  to  follow  him  ; 
but  for  the  present,  they  were  filled  with  wonder. 
Note,  It  is  possible  for  people  to  admire  good  preach- 
ing, and  yet  to  remain  in  ignorance  and  unbelief  ;  to 
be  astonished,  and  yet  not  sanctified.  2.  The  rea- 
son was  because  he  taught  them  as  one  having  au- 
thority, and  not  as  the  Scribes.  The  Scribes  pre 
tended  to  as  much  authority  as  any  teachers  what- 
soever, and  were  supported  bv  all  the  external  ad- 
vantages that  could  be  obtained,  but  their  preaching 
was  tiiean,  and  flat,  and  jejune :  they  spake  as  those 


86 


ST.  MATTHEW,  Vlll. 


that  were  not  themselves  masters  of  what  they 
preached  :  the  word  did  not  come  from  them  with 
any  hfe  or  force  ;  they  delivered  it  as  a  school-boy 
says  his  lesson ;  but  Christ  delivered  his  discourse, 
as  a  judge  gives  his  charge.  He  did  indeed,  domi- 
7iariin  concionibus — deln<er  his  discourses  ivith  a  tone 
of  authority;  his  lessons  were  laws;  his  word  a 
word  of  command.  Christ,  upon  the  mountain, 
showed  more  ti-ue  authority,  than  the  Scribes  in 
Moses's  seat.  Thus  when  Christ  teaches  by  his 
Spirit  in  the  soul,  he  teaches  with  authority.  He 
says.  Let  there  be  light,  and  there  is  light. 

CHAP.  VIII. 

The  evangehst  having,  in  the  foregoing  chapters,  given  us  a 
specimen  of  our  Lord's  preaching,  proceeds  now  to  give 
some  instances  of  the  miracles  lie  wrought,  which  prove 
him  a  teacher  come  from  God,  and  the  great  Healer  of  a 
diseased  world.  In  this  chapter  we  have,  I.  Christ's  clean- 
sing of  a  leper,  v.  1  . .  4.  II.  His  curing  a  palsy  and  lever, 
T.  5  . .  18.  III.  His  communing  with  two  that  were  dis- 
posed to  follow  him,  v.  19  . .  22.  IV.  His  controlling  the 
tempest,  v.  23 . .  27.    V.  His  casting  out  devils,  v.  28  . .  34. 

1.  ^HTHEN  he  was  come  down  from 
T  T  the  mountain,  great  multitudes 
followed  him.  2.  And,  beliold,  there  came 
a  leper  and  worshipped  him,  saying.  Lord, 
if  thou  wilt,  thou  canst  make  me  clean.  3. 
And  Jesus  put  forth  his  hand,  and  touched 
him,  saying,  I  will ;  be  thou  clean :  And 
immediately  his  leprosy  was  cleansed.  4. 
And  Jesus  saith  unto  him.  See  thou  tell 
no  man ;  but  go  thy  way,  show  thyself  to 
the  priest,  and  offer  the  gift  that  Moses 
commanded  for  a  testimony  unto  them. 

The  first  verse  refers  tn  tlie  close  of  the  foregoing 
sermon  :  the  people  that  lie:ird  him  were  astonished 
at  his  doctrine ;  and  the  effect  was,  that  nvhen  he 
came  down  from  the  mountain,  great  Jnu/titudes  fol- 
lowed him  ;  though  he  was  so  strict  a  Lawgiver, 
and  so  faithful  a  Keprovcr,  they  diligently  attended 
him,  and  Avere  loath  to  disperse,  and  go  from  him. 
Note,  They  to  whom  Christ  has  manifested  him- 
self, cannot  but  desire  to  be  better  acquainted  witlr 
him.  They  who  know  mucli  of  Christ  should  covet 
to  know  more  ;  and  then  shall  we  know,  if  we  thus 
follow  on  to  know  the  Lord.  It  is  pleasing  to  see 
people  so  well  affected  to  Christ,  as  to  think  they 
can  never  hear  enough  of  liim  ;  so  well  affected  to 
the  best  things,  as  thus  to  flock  after  good  preach- 
ing, and  to /b/ZoTO  the  Lamb  whithersoever  he  goes. 
Now  was  .mcob's  prophecy  concerning  the  Messiah 
fulfilled,  \.\\a.t  unto  him  shall  the  gathering  of  the  fieo- 
file  be ;  yet  they  who  gathered  to  him  did  not  cleave 
to  him.  They  who  foUgwed  him  closely  and  con- 
stantly were  but  few,  compared  with  the  multitudes 
that  were  but  followers  at  large. 

In  these  verses  we  have  an  account  of  Christ's 
cleansing  a  lefier.  It  should  seem  by  comparing 
Mark  1.  40.  and  Luke  5.  12.  that  this  passage,  though 
placed,  by  St.  Matthew,  after  the  sermon  on  the 
mount,  because  he  would  give  account  of  his  doc- 
trines first,  and  then  of  his  miracles,  happened  some 
time  before  ;  but  that  is  not  at  all  matenal.  Tliis  is 
fitly  recorded  with  the  first  of  Christ's  miracles. 
1.  Because  the  leprosy  was  looked  upon,  among  the 
Jews,  as  a  particular  mark  of  God's  displeasure : 
hence  we  find  Miriam,  Gehazi,  and  llzzian,  smitten 
with  leprosy  for  some  one  particular  sin  ;  and  there- 
fore Christ,  to  show  that  he  came  to  turn  away  the 
■wrath  of  God,  by  taking  away  sin,  began  with  the 
cure  of  a  leper.  2.  Because  this  disease,  as  it  was 
supposed  to  come  immediately  from  the  hand  of 


God,  so  also  it  was  supposed  to  be  removed  im 
mediately  by  his  hand,  and  therefore  it  was  not  at  ' 
tempted  to  be  cured  by  physicians,  but  was  put 
under  the  inspection  of  the  priests,  the  Lord's 
ministers,  who  waited  to  see  what  God  would  do 
And  its  being  in  a  garment,  or  in  the  walls  of  a 
house,  was  altogether  supernatural ;  and  it  should ' 
seem  to  be  a  disease  of  a  quite  different  nature  from 
what  we  now  call  the  leprosy.  The  king  of  Israel 
said,  ^m  I  God,  that  I  am  sent  to,  to  recover  a  man 
of  a  leprosy  ?  2  Kings  5.  7.  Christ  proved  himself 
God,  by  recovering  many  from  the  leprosy,  and  au- 
thorizing his  disciples,  in  his  name,  to  do  so  too,  (c/i. 
10.  8.)  and  it  is  put  among  the  proofs  of  his  being 
the  Messiah,  ch.  11.  5.  He  also  showed  himself  to 
be  the  Saviour  of  his  people  from  their  sins;  for 
though  every  disease  is  both  the  fruit  of  sin,  and  a 
figure  of  it,  as  the  disorder  of  the  soul,  yet  the  lepro- 
sy was  in  a  special  manner  so  ;  for  it  contracted  such 
a  pollution,  and  obliged  to  such  a  separation  from 
holy  things,  as  no  other  disease  did  ;  and  therefore 
in  the  laws  concerning  it,  (Lev.  13.  and  14.)  it  is 
treated,  not  as  a  sickness,  but  as  an  uncleanness ; 
the  priest  was  to  pronounce  the  party  clean  or  un- 
clean, according  to  the  indications  ;  but  the  honour 
of  making  the  lepers  clean  was  reserved  for  Christ, 
who  was  to  do  it  as  the  High-Priest  of  our  /irofes- 
sion  :  he  comes  to  do  that  which  the  laiv  coulifnot 
do,  in  that  it  ".I'as  weal:  through  the  flesh,  Rom.  8.  3. 
The  law  discovered  sin,  (for  by  the  law  is  the  know- 
ledge of  sin,)  and  pronounced  sinners  unclean  ;  it 
shut  them  up,  (Gal.  3.  23.)  as  the  priest  did  the 
leper,  but  could  go  no  finther ;  it  could  not  make 
the  comers  thereunto  perfect.  But  Christ  takes 
away  sin,  cleanses  us  from"  it,  and  so  perfecteth  for 
ez'er  them  that  are  sanctified.  Now  here  we  have, 
I.  The  leper's  address  to  Christ.  If  this  happen- 
ed, as  it  is  here  placed,  after  the  sermon  on  the 
mount,  we  may  suppose  that  the  leper,. though  shut 
out  bv  his  disease  from  the  cities  of  Israel,  yet  got 
within  hearing  of  Christ's  sermon,  and  was  encou- 
raged by  it,  to  make  his  application  to  him  ;  for  he 
that  taught  as  one  having  authority,  could  heal  so  ; 
and  therefore  he  came  and  worshipped  him,  as  one 
clothed  with  a  divine  power.  His  address  is.  Lord, 
if  thou  wilt  thoxi  canst  make  me  clean.  The  cleans- 
ing of  him  may  he  considered, 

1.  As  a  tenipoi-al  mercy  ;  a  mercy  to  the  body> 
delivering  it  from  a  disease,  which,  though  it  did 
not  threaten  life,  imbittercd  it.     And  so  it  directs 
us,  not  only  to  applv  ourselves  to  Christ,  who  has 
jwwer  over  bodily  diseases,  for  the  cure  of  tliem, 
but  it  also  teaches  us  in  what  manner  to  apply  our- 
selves to  him  ;  with  an  assurance  of  his  power,  be- 
lieving that  he  is  as  able  to  ctire  diseases  now,  ashe 
was  when  on  eartli,  but  with  a  submission  to  his  will ; 
Lord,  if  thou  wilt,  thou  canst.  As  to  temporal  mer- 
cies, we  cannot  be  so  sure  of  God's  «v7/ to  bestow, 
them,  as  we  may  of  his  power,  for  his  power  in  them  ( 
is  unlimited,  Ijut  his  promise  of  them  is  limited  by  a  i^ 
regard  to  his  glory  and  our  good  :  when  we  cannot 
be  sure  of  his  will,  we  may  he  sure  of  his  wisdom 
and  mercy,  to  which  we  may  cheerfully  refer  our- 
selves ;  Thy  will  be  done ;  and  this  malies  the  ex- 
pectation easy,  and  the  event,  when  it  comes,  com- 
fortable.        '  ' 

2.  As  a  tii-pical  mercy.     Sin  is  the  leprosy  of  the 
soul ;  it  shuts  us  out  from  communion  with  God  ;  to 
which  that  we  may  be  restored,  it  is  neccssaiy  that 
we  be  cleansed  from  this  leprosy,  and  this  ought  to 
be  our  great  concern.     Now  obseiwe.  It  is  our  com-v 
fort  when  we  apply  ourselves  to  Christ,  as  the  great  I 
Physician,  that  if  he  will,  he  can  make  us  clean  ;  \ 
and  we  should,  with  an  humble,  believing  boldness, 
go  to  him  and  tell  him  so.     That  is,  (1.)  ^^'e  must 

.  rest  ourselves  upon  his  power  ;  we  must  be  confi- 
I  dent  of  this,  that  Christ  can  make  us  clean.     No 


ST.  MATTHFAV,  VIII. 


37 


guilt  is  so  gi-eat  but  that  there  is  a  sufficiency  in  his 
righteousness  to  atone  for  it ;  no  eori-uption  so  sti-oiij;, 
but  there  is  a  sufficiency  in  liis  grace  to  subdue  it. 
God  would  not  appoint  a  physician  to  his  hospital 
that  is  not /lar  nei^olio — n-ery  -svay  (juahjied  fur  the 
undertaking.  (2.)  We  must  reconuiiend  oui-sclvcs 
to  his  pity  ;  we  c;uinot  demand  it  as  a  debt,  but  wc 
mast  humbly  request  it  as  a  favour  ;  "  Lord,  if  thou 
ivilt.  I  thniw  myself  at  thy  feet,  and  if  I  perish,  I 
will  ])erish  there." 

II.  Christ's  answer  to  this  address,  which  was 
very  kind,  v.  3. 

1.  He  /tut  forth  his  hand  and  touched  him.  The 
lepro.sy  was  a  noisome,  loathsome  disease,  yet  Christ 
touched  him  ;  for  he  did  not  disdain  to  converse 
witli  publicans  and  sinners,  to  do  them  good.  There 
was  a  ceremonial  pollution  contracted  by  the  touch 
of  a  leper;  but  Christ  would  show,  that  when  he 
conversed  with  sinners,  he  was  in  no  danger  of  being 
infected  by  them,  for  the  prince  of  this  world  had 
nothing  in  him.  If  we  touch  pitch,  we  are  defiled  ; 
but  Clirist  was  se/iarate  from  sinners,  even  when  he 
lived  among  them. 

2.  He  said,  I  nvill,  be  thou  clean.     He  did  not  say 
;  as  Elisha  to  Naaman,  Go,  iva.<ih  in  Jordan  ;  did  not 

put  him  upon  a  tedious,  troublesome,  chargeable 
course  of  physic,  but  spake  the  word  and  healed 
him.  (1.)  Here  is  a  word  of  kindness,  Irjill.  I  am 
1  as  willing  to  help  thee,  as  thou  art  to  be  helped. 
'  Note,  They  who  by  faith  apply  themselves  to  Christ 
,  for  mercy  and  grace,  ma\-  be  sure  that  he  is  willing, 
I  freely  willing,  to  gi\-e  them  the  mercy  and  grace 
thej-  come  to  him  for.  Christ  is  a  Physician,  that 
does  not  need  to  be  sought  for,  he  is  always  in  the 
way  ;  does  not  need  to  be  urged,  while  wc  are  yet 
speaking  he  hears ;  does  not  need  to  be  feed,  he 
heals  fi-eely,  not  for  price  nor  reward.  He  has  given 
all  possible  demonstration,  tliat  he  is  as  willing  as 
he  is  able  to  save  sinners.  (2. )  A  word  of  power, 
lie  thou  clean.  Both  a  ])owcr  of  authority,  and  a 
power  of  energy,  are  exei1,ed  in  this  word.  Christ 
heals  by  a  word  of  command  to  us  ;  Be  thou  clean  ; 
"  Be  willing  to  be  clean,  and  use  the  means  ;  cleanse 
th\self  from  all  filthiuess  :"  Ijut  there  goes  along 
with  this  a  word  of  command  concerning  us,  a  word 
that  does  the  work  ;  Iivillthat  thou  be  clean.  Such 
a  word  as  this  is  necessary  to  the  cure,  and  effec- 
tual for  it ;  and  the  almighty  grace  which  speaks  it, 
shall  not  be  wanting  to  those  that  truly  desii-c  it. 

III.  The  happy  change  hereby  wrought.  Imme- 
diately his  le/irosy  rjas  cleansed.  Nature  works 
gradually,  but  the  (iod  of  nature  works  immedi- 
ately ;  he  speaks,  it  is  done  :  and  yet  he  works  ef- 
fectually ;  he  commands,  and  it  stands  fast.  One 
of  the  fii-st  miracles  Moses  wrought,  was  cui-ing 
himself  of  a  leprosy,  (Exod.  A.  7.)  for  the  priests 
under  the  law  offered  sacrifice  first  for  their  own 
sin ;  but  one  of  Christ's  first  miracles  was  curing 
another  of  leprosy,  for  he  had  no  sin  of  his  own  to 
atone  for. 

W.  The  after-directions  Christ  gave  him.  It  is 
fit  that  they  who  are  cured  by  Christ  should  ever 
after  be  ruled  by  him. 

1.  .Srf  thou  tell  no  man  ;  "  Tell  no  man  till  thou 
hast  showed  thyself  to  the  priest,  and  he  has  pro- 
nounced thee  clean  ;  and  so  thou  hast  a  legal  proof, 
both  that  thou  wast  before  a  leper,  and  art  now 
thoroughly  cleansed."  Christ  would  ha^•e  his  mira- 
cles to  appear  in  their  fiiU  light  and  evidence,  and 
not  to  be  published  till  thev  could  appear  so.  Note, 
They  that  preach  the  truths  of  Christ  should  be 
able  to  prove  them  ;  to  defend  what  they  preach, 
and  convince  ,^ainsayers.  "  Tell  no  mari,  till  thou 
hast  sho'.ved  thyself  to  the  firiest,  lest  if  he  hear  who 
cured  tliee,  he  should  out  of  spite  denv  to  give  thee 
a  certificate  of  the  cure,  and  so  keep  thee  under 
confinement."    Such  were  the  priests  in  Christ's 


time,  that  they  who  had  any  thing  to  do  with  them 
had  need  to  ha\e  been  :is  wise  as  seqients. 

2.  Go  show  thyself  to  the  /iriest,  according  to  tlic 
law.  Lev.  14.  2.  Christ  Umk  care  to  ha\  e  the  law 
observed,  lest  he  should  give  oflence,  and  to  show 
that  he  will  have  order  kept  uj),  and  good  discipline 
and  respect  paid  to  those  that aie  in  office.  It  may 
be  of  use  to  those  that  are  cleansed  of  their  spiritual 
lcpn)S\',  to  have  recourse  to  Christ's  ministers,  and 
to  open  their  case  to  them,  that  they  may  assist 
them  in  their  inquiries  into  their  sjjiritual  state,  and 
advise,  and  comfort,  and  pray  for  them. 

3.  Offer  tlie  gift  that  Alose's  commanded,  in  token 
of  thankfulness  to  God,  and  recompense  to  the  priest 
for  his  pains  ;  and  this  for  a  testimony  unto  them  ; 
either,  (1.)  Which  I^Ioscs  commanded  for  a  testimo- 
ny :  the  ceremonial  laws  were  testimonies  of  God's 
aiithoritv  over  them,  care  of  them,  and  of  that  grace 
which  should  afterwards  be  revealed.  Or,  (2.) 
"  Do  thou  offer  it  for  a  testimony,  and  let  the  priest 
know  who  cleansed  thee,  and  how  ;  and  it  shall  be 
a  testimony,  that  there  is  one  among  them,  who 
does  that  w'hich  the  high-priest  cannot  do.  Let  it 
remain  upon  record  as  a  witness  of  my  power,  and 
a  testimony  for  me  to  them,  if  they  will  use  it  and 
improve  it ;  but  against  them,  if  they  will  not :"  for 
so  Christ's  word  and  works  are  testimonies. 

5.  And  when  Jesus  was  entered  into 
Capernaum,  there  came  unto  liim  a  centu- 
rion, beseechinp;  him,  6.  And  saving.  Lord, 
my  servant  heth  at  home  sick  of  the  palsy, 
grievously  tormented.  7.  And  .Tesus  saith 
unto  him,  I  will  come  and  heal  him.  8. 
The  centvn-ion  answered  and  said,  Lord, 
I  am  not  worthy  that  thou  shouldest  come 
under  my  roof: "but  speak  the  word  only, 
and  my  servant  shall  be  healed.  9.  For  I 
am  a  man  under  authority,  iiaving  soldiers 
under  me:  and  I  say  to  this  man,  Go,  and 
he  goeth  ;  and  to  another.  Come,  and  he 
Cometh ;  and  to  mv  servant,  Uo  this,  and 
he  doeth  //.  10.  When  Jesus  heard  it,  he 
marvelled,  and  said  to  them  tiiat  followed, 
Verilv  I  say  imto  you,  I  have  not  found  so 
great  faith,  no,  not  in  Israel.  11.  And  I 
say  unto  you,  that  many  shall  come  from 
the  east  and  west,  and  shall  sit  down  with 
Abraham,  and  Isaac,  and  Jacob,  in  the 
kingdom  of  heaven:  12.  But  the  children 
of  the  kingdom  shall  be  cast  out  into  outer 
darkness:  there  sliall  be  weeping  and 
gnashing  of  teeth.  1 3.  And  Jesus  said  un- 
to the  centurion.  Go  thy  way;  and  as  thou 
hast  iDelieved,  so  be  it  done  unto  thee.  And 
his  servant  was  healed  in  the  self-same 
hour. 

^^'e  have  here  an  account  of  Christ's  curing  the 
centurion's  servant  of  a  palsy.  This  was  done  at 
I  CapeiTiaum,  where  Christ  now  dwelt,  ch.  4.  13. 
Christ  went  about  doing  good,  and  came  heme  to 
do  good  too  ;  even'  place  he  came  to  was  the  better 
for  him.  The  persons  Christ  had  now  to  do  with 
were, 

1.  A  centurion;  he  was  a  supplicant,  a  Gentile,  a 
Roman,  an  officer  of  the  army  ;  probably  comman- 
der in  chief  of  that  part  of  the  Roman  army  which 
was  quartered  at  Capernaum,  and  ke))t  garrison 
there,     (l.)  Though  he  was  a  soldier,  (and  a  little 


88 


ST.  MATTHEW,  Vlll. 


piety  commonly  goes  a  great  way  with  men  of  that 
protession, )  yet  lie  was  a  godly  man  ;  he  was  emi- 
nently so.  Note,  God  has  his  remnant  among  all 
sorts  of  people.  'No  man's  calling  or  place  in  the 
■  world  will  be  an  excuse  for  his  unbelief  and  impie- 
ty ;  none  shall  say  in  the  gi-eat  day,  I  had  been  re- 
ligious, if  I  had  not  been  a  soldier ;  for  such  there 
.  are  among  the  ransomed  of  the  Lord.  And  some- 
times where  grace  conquers  the  imlikely,  it  is  more 
than  a  conqueror ;  this  soldier  that  was  good,  was 
very  good.  (2.)  Though  he  was  a  Roman  soldier, 
and  his  very  dwelling  among  the  Jews  was  a  badge 
of  their  subjection  to  the  Roman  yoke,  yet  Christ, 
who  was  King  of  the  Jeivs,  favoured  him  ;  and 
therein  has  taught  us  to  do  good  to  our  enemies,  and 
not  needlessly  to  interest  ourselves  in  national  enmi- 
ties. (3.)  Though  he  was  a  Gentile,  yet  Christ 
countenanced  him.  It  is  true,  he  went  not  to  any 
of  the  Gentile  towns,  (it  was  the  land  of  Canaan  that 
was  Immanuel's  land,  Isii.  8.  8. )  yet  he  received  ad- 
dresses from  Gentiles  ;  now  good  old  Simeon's  word 
began  to  be  fulfilled,  that  he  should  be  a  light  to 
lighten  the  Gentiles,  as  well  as  the  glory  of  his  /leo- 
ftte  Israel.  Matthew,  in  annexing  this  cure  to  that 
of  the  leper,  who  was  a  Jew,  intimates  this ;  the 
leprous  Jews  Christ  touched  and  cured,  for  he 
preached  personally  to  them ;  but  the  paralytic  Gen- 
tiles he  cured  at  a  distance  ;  for  to  them  he  did  not 
go  in  person,  but  sent  his  ivordand  healed  them  ;  yet 
in  them  he  was  more  magnified. 

2.  The  centurion's  servant ;  he  was  the  patient. 
In  this  also  it  appears,  that  there  is  no  respect  of  per- 
sons with  God ;  for  in  Christ  Jesus,  as  there  is  neither 
circumcision  7tor  uncircumci.iion,  so  there  is  neither 
bond  nor  free.  He  is  as  ready  to  heal  the  poorest 
ser\'ant,  as  the  richest  master  ;  for  himself  took  u/ion 
him  the  form  of  a  servant,  to  show  his  regard  to  the 
meanest. 

Now  in  the  storv  of  the  cure  of  this  servant,  we 
may  observe  an  intercourse  or  interchanging  of 
graces,  very  remarkable  between  Christ  and  the 
centurion.     See  here, 

I.  The  grace  of  the  centurion  working  towards 
Christ.  Can  any  good  thing  come  out  of  a  Roman 
soldier  ?  any  thing  tolerable,  much  less  any  thing 
laudable  ?  Come  and  see,  and  you  will  find  abun- 
dance of  good  coming  out  of  this  centurion  that  was 
eminent  and  exemplary.     Observe, 

1.  His  affectionate  address  to  Jesus  Christ,  which 
speaks, 

(1.)  A  pious  regard  to  our  great  Master,  as  one 
able  and  willing  to  succour  and  relieve  poor  peti- 
tioners. He  came  to  him  beseeching  him,  not  as 
Naaman  the  Syrian  (a  centurion  too,)  came  to  Eli- 
sha,  demanding  a  cure,  taking  state  and  standing 
upon  points  of  honour  ;  but  with  cap  in  hand  as  an 
humble  suitor.  By  this  it  seems,  that  he  saw  more 
in  Christ  than  appeared  at  first  view ;  saw  that 
which  commanded  respect,  though  to  those  who 
looked  no  further,  his  \'isage  was  marred  more  than 
any  man's.  The  officers  of  the  army  being  comp- 
trollers of  the  town,  no  doubt  made  a  great  figure, 
yet  he  lays  bv  the  thoughts  of  his  post  of  honour, 
when  he  addresses  himself  to  Christ,  and  comes 
beseeching  him.  Note,  the  greatest  of  men  must  turn 
beggars,  when  they  have  to  do  with  Christ.  He 
owns  Christ's  sovereignty,  in  calling  him  Lord,  and 
referring  the  case  to  him,  and  to  his  will,  and  wis- 
dom, by  a  modest  remonstrance,  without  anv  formal 
and  express  petition.  He  knew  he  had  to  do  with  a 
wise  and  gracious  physician,  to  whom  the  opening 
of  the  malady  was  equivalent  to  the  most  earnest  re- 
/  quest.  A  humble  confession  of  our  spiritual  wants 
and  diseases  shall  not  fail  of  an  answer  of  peace. 
Pour  out  thy  complaint,  and  mercy  shall  be  poured 
out. 

(2. )  A  charitable  regard  to  his  poor  servant.     We 


read  of  many  that  came  to  Christ  for  their  children, 
but  this  is  the  only  instance  of  one  that  came  to  him 
for  a  servant :  Lord,  my  servant  lies  at  home  sick. 
Note,  It  is  the  duty  of  masters  to  concern  themselves 
for  their  servants,  when  they  are  in  affliction. — The 
palsy  disabled  the  servant  for  his  work,  and  made 
him  as  troublesome  and  tedious  as  any  distemper 
could,  yet  he  did  not  turn  him  away  when  he  was 
sick,  (as  that  Amalekite  did  his  servant,  1  Sam.  30. 
13.)  did  not  send  him  to  his  friends,  nor  let  him  lie 
by  neglected,  but  sought  out  the  best  relief  he  could 
for  him  ;  the  servant  could  not  have  done  more  for 
the  master,  than  the  master  did  here  for  the  servant. 
The  centurion's  servants  were  very  dutiful  to  him, 
(f.  9. )  and  here  we  see  what  made  them  so  ;  he  was 
very  kind  to  them,  and  that  made  them  the  more 
cheerfully  obedient  to  him.  As  we  must  not  des- 
pise the  cause  of  our  sen^ants,  when  they  contend  with 
us,  (Job  31.  13,  15.)  so  we  must  not  despise  their 
case  when  God  contends  with  them  ;  for  we  are 
made  in  the  same  mould,  by  the  same  h;uid,  and 
stand  upon  the  same  level  with  them  before  God, 
and  must  not  set  them  with  the  dogs  of  our  Jiock. 
The  centurion  applies  not  to  witches  or  wizards  for 
his  ser\'ant,  but  to  Christ.  The  palsy  is  a  disease 
in  which  the  physician's  skill  commonly  fails ;  it  was 
therefore  a  gi-eat  ei'idence  of  his  faith  in  the  power 
of  Christ,  to  come  to  him  for  a  cure,  which  was 
above  the  power  of  natural  means  to  effect.  Ob- 
serve, how  pathetically  he  represents  his  servant's 
case  as  very  sad  ;  he  is  sick  of  the  paky,  a  disease 
which  commonly  makes  the  pctient  senseless  of 
pain,  but  this  person  vms  griez'ously  tormented  ;  be- 
ing young,  nature  was  strong  to  struggle  with  the 
stroke,  which  made  it  painful.  (It  was  not  paralysis 
simfilex,  but  scorbutica.)  We  should  thus  concern 
ourselves  for  the  souls  of  our  children,  and  servants, 
that  are  spiritually  sick  of  the  palsy,  the  dead-palsy, 
the  dumb-palsy;  senseless  of  spiritual  evils,  inactive 
in  that  which  is  spirituallv  good  ;  and  bring  them  to 
Christ  by  faith  and  prayer,  bring  them  to  the  means  . 
of  healing  and  health. 

2.  Observe  his  great  humility  and  self-abasement. 
After  Christ  had  intimated  liis  readiness  to  come 
and  heal  his  servant,  (t.  ".)  he  expressed  himself 
with  the  more  humbleness  of  mind.  Note,  Humble 
souls  are  made  more  humble,  by  Christ's  gracious 
condescensions  to  them.  Observe  what  was  the  lan- 
guage of  his  humility  ;  Lord,  lam  not  worthy  that 
thou  shouldst  come  vnder  my  roof ;  (t.  8.)  which 
speaks  mean  thoughts  of  himself,  and  high  thoughts 
of  our  Lord  Jesus.  He  does  not  say,  " My  senant 
is  not  worth^•  that  thou  shouldst  come  into  his  cham- 
ber, because  it  is  in  the  garret  ;"  but,  I  am  not  wor- 
thy that  thou  shouldst  come  into  my  house.  The 
centurion  was  a  gi'eat  man,  yet  he  owned  his  un- 
worthiness  before  God.  Note,  Humility  vciy  well 
becomes  persons  of  quality.  Christ  now  made  but  a 
mean  figure  in  the  world,  yet  the  centurion,  looking 
upon  him  as  a  prophet,  yea,  more  than  a  profihet, 
paid  him  this  respect.  Note,  ^^'e  should  have  a  value 
and  veneration  for  what  we  see  of  God,  even  in  those 
who,  in  outward  condition,  are  every  way  our  infe- 
riors. The  centurion  came  to  Christ  with  a  peti 
tion,  and  therefore  expressed  himself  thus  humbly. 
Note,  In  all  our  approaches  to  Christ,  and  to  God 
through  Christ,  it  becomes  us  to  abase  ourselves, 
and  to  lie  low  in  a  sense  of  our  own  unworthiness, 
as  mean  creatures  and  as  vile  sinners,  to  do  any  thing 
for  God,  to  receive  any  good  from  him,  or  to  have 
any  thing  to  do  with  him. 

5.  Observe  his  great  faith.  The  more  humility, 
the  more  faith  ;  the  more  diffident  we  are  of  our- 
selves, the  stronger  will  be  our  confidence  in  Jesus 
Christ.  He  had  an  assurance  of  faith  not  only  that 
Christ  could  cure  his  servant,  but, 

(1.)  That  he  could  cure  him  at  adistance.  There 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VIII. 


89 


nctikil  not  any  physical  contact,  as  in  natural  opc- 
f.itions,  nor  any  application  to  the  part  affccttd  ;  but 
tlic  cure,  he  believed,  miirht  be  wrought,  without 
bi  mgini;  the  pliysician  and  patient  together.  \\'e 
read  afierwards  of  those,  who  brouglit  the  iiiuii  sici: 
of  the  /lalsy  to  Christ,  through  luucli  difticult\',  and 
set  him  before  him,  and  Christ  commended  their 
faith  for  a  VJorkint;  faitl\.  This  centurion  dill  not 
bring  liis  man  nick  ufthc  juikij,  and  Christ  commend- 
ed his  faith  for  a  truxlingiMih  :  tnie  faitli  is  accept- 
ed of  C.lirist,  though  variously  appearing  :  C'lirist 
puts  tile  best  construction  upon  tlie  difi'erent  me- 
thods of  religion  that  pi'ople  take,  and  thereby  has 
taught  us  to  do  so  too.  Tliis  centurion  believed,  and 
it  is  undoubted!}'  true,  that  tlie  power  of  Christ 
knows  no  limits,  and  therefore  nearness  and  dist;uice 
arc  alils.e  to  him.  ])istiu\ce  of  place  cannot  obstiTJCt 
either  the  knowing,  or  woi'king,  of  him  i\vAi  Jilts  all ' 
filaccs.  .-im  la  (rod  at  hand,  says  the  Lord,  and\ 
not  a  God  afar  off?  Jer.  123.  23.  | 

(2.)  That  lie  coidd  cure  him  «-ith  a  word,  not  send  j 
him  a  medicine,  much  less  a  charm  ;  but  s/icak  the  ^ 
•word  only,  and  I  do  not  question  l)ut  my  smnuil  sliall , 
be  healed.     Herein  he  owns  him  to  lia\  e  a  di\  ine  ; 
powei',  cm  authority  to  cohimand  all  the  creatures 
and  powers  of  nature,  which  enaljles  him  to  do 
whatsoever  he  pleases  in  the  kingdom  of  nature  ;  as 
at  first  he  raised  tliat  kingdom  by  an  almighty  word, 
when  he  siiid.  Let  there  he  light.     \\'itli  men,  say- 
ing and  doing  are  two  things ;  but  not  so  witli  Christ,  ! 
who  is  therefore  the  .irm  of  the  Lord,  because  he 
is  the  eternal  Word.     His  saying.  Be  ye  warmed, 
and  filled,  (Jam.  2.  16.)  and  healed,  warms,  and  fills, 
and  heals. 

The  centurion's  faith  in  the  power  of  Christ  he 
here  illustrates  by  the  dominion  he  had,  as  a  centu- 
rion, o\er  liis  soldiers,  as  a  master  oxev  his  servants  ; 
he  says  to  one.  Go,  and  he  goes,  ijfc.  Thev  were  all 
at  his  beck  and  command,  so  as  that  he  could  by 
them  execute  things  at  a  tlistance  ;  his  word  was  a 
'aw  to  them — dictum  factum  ;  well  disciplined  sol- 
liers  know  that  the  commands  of  their  officers  are 
not  to  be  disputed,  but  obeyed.  Thus  could  Chi-ist 
speak,  and  it  is  done  ;  such  a  power  had  he  over  all 
bodily  diseases.  The  centurion  had  this  command 
over  his  soldiers,  though  lie  was  himself  a  rnan  un- 
der authority;  not  a  commander  in  chief,  but  a  sub- 
altern officer  ;  mucli  more  had  Christ  this  power, 
who  is  tlie  supreme  and  sovereign  Lord  of  all.  The 
centurion's  scr\ants  were  very  obsequious,  would 
go  and  come  at  every  the  leas't  intimation  of  their 
master's  mind.  Now,  [1.]  Such  servants  we  all 
should  be  to  fJod  :  we  must  go  and  come  at  his  bid- 
ding, according  to  the  directions  of  his  word,  and  the 
disposals  of  his  providence  ;  iim  where  he  sends  us, 
return  when  he  remands  us,  and  do  what  he  ap- 
points, mat  saith  my  Lord  unto  his  sen<ant  ? 
vVlien  his  will  crosses  oiir  own,  his  must  take  place, 
and  our  own  be  set  aside.  [2.  ]  Such  servants  bodily 
diseases  arc  to  Christ  Thev  seize  us  when  he  sends 
them,  they  leave  us  when  he  calls  them  back  ;  thev 
have  that  effect  upon  us,  upon  our  bodies,  upon  our 
souls,  that  he  orders.  It  is  a  matter  of  comfort  to 
all  that  belong  to  Christ,  for  whose  good  his  power 
Is  exerted  and  engaged,  that  everv  disease  has  his 
commission,  executes  his  command.'is  under  his  con- 
trol, and  is  made  to  serve  the  intentions  of  his  grace. 
They  need  not  fear  sickness,  nor  what  it  can  do, 
,who  sec  it  in  the  hand  of  so  good  a  Friend. 
■  II.  Here  is  the  gi-ace  of  Christ  appearing  toward 
this  centurion  ;  for  to  the  gracious  he  will  show  him- 
self gi-acious. 

1.  He  complies  with  his  address  at  the  first  woi-d. 
He  did  but  tell  him  his  servant's  case,  and  was  go- 
ing on  to  beg  a  cure,  when  Christ  prevented  him, 
with  this  good  word,  and  comfortable  word,  /  will 
come  and  heal  him  ;  {v.  7.)  not,  I  will  come  and  see 

Vol.  v.— M 


/liin — that  liad  evinced  him  a  kind  Saviour  ;  l)iit,  / 
will  come  and  heal  him — that  sliows  liim  a  niiglity, 
an  almighty  Sa\  iour ;  it  was  a  great  word,  but  no 
more  than  he  could  make  good  ;  for  lie  has  heating 
under  his  wings  ;  liis  coming  is  healing.  Tliey  who 
wrought  miracles  by  a  derived  Jiower,  chd  not  speak 
tlius  ])ositively,  as  C'hrist  did,  wlio  wrought  them  by 
his  own  ])0wer,  as  one  that  had  authority.  W  lien  a 
minister  is  sent  for  to  a  sick  friend,  he  can  liut  say, 
I  Witt  come  and  /iray  for  him  ;  but  Clirist  says,  J 
will  come  and  heat  liiin  :  it  is  well  that  Christ  can  do 
more  for  us  tlian  our  ministers  c:ui.  The  centurion 
desired  he  would  heal  his  servant ;  he  says,  /  will 
come  and  heat  him;  thus  ex])ressing  more  favour 
tlian  he  did  eitlier  ask  or  think  of.  Note,  Clirist 
often  outdoes  the  expectations  of  poor  sui)])lic;mts. 
See  an  instance  of  Clirist's  humilitv,  that  he  would 
iiKike  a  visit  to  a  poor  soldier.  He  would  not  go 
down  to  see  a  nobleman's  sick  child,  who  insisted 
upon  his  coming  down,  (Jolin  4.  4" — 19.)  but  he 
proflTers  to  go  down  to  sec  a  sick  servant  ;  thus  docs 
he  regard  Me  low  citatc  of  his  pcojile,  and  gi\  e  ?nore 
abundant  honour  to  that  /lart  which  lucked.  Christ's 
humility,  in  being  willing  to  come,  gave  an  example 
to  him,  and  occasioned  his  humility,  in  owning  him- 
self unworthy  to  have  him  con  ic.  IS  ote,  Christ's  gra- 
cious condescensions  to  us,  should  make  us  the  more 
hunilile  and  self-aliasing  liefore  him. 

2.  He  commends  his  faith,  and  takes  occasion  from 
it  to  speak  a  kind  word  of  the  poor  Gentiles,  v.  10 
— 12.  See  what  gi-eat  things  a  strong  but  self-deny- 
ing faith  can  obtain  from  Jesus  Christ,  even  of  gene- 
ral and  pulilic  concern. 

(1.)  As  tQ  tlie  centurion  himself;  he  not  only  ap- 
proved him  and  accepted  him,  (that  honour  have 
all  tnie  believers,)  but  he  admired  him  and  aj)])laud- 
ed  him  :  that  honour  great  believers  ha\e,  as  Job  ; 
there  is  none  like  him  in  the  earth. 

[1.]  Christ  admired  him,  not  for  his  greatness, 
but  for  his  gi'aces.  ll'hrn  Jesus  heard  it,  he  mar- 
velled ;  not  as  if  it  were  to  him  new  and  suiprising, 
he  knew  the  centurion's  faith,  for  he  wi-ought  it ;  but 
it  was  great  and  excellent,  rare  and  uncommon,  and 
Christ  spoke  of  it  as  wondertul,  to  teach  us  what  to 
admire  ;  not  worldly  jiomp  and  decorations,  but  the 
beauty  of  holiness,  and  the  ornaments  wliich  are  in 
the  sight  of  God  of  great  price.  Note,  the  wonders 
of  grace  should  affect  us  more  than  the  wonders  of 
nature  or  providence,  and  sjiiritual  attainments  more 
than  any  achievements  in  this  world.  Of  thoj|e  that 
are  rich  in  faith,  not  of  those  that  are  rich  in  gold 
and  silver,  we  should  say  that  they  have  gotten  all 
this  glory.  Gen.  31.  1.  But  whatever  there  is  ad- 
mirable ill  the  faith  of  any,  it  must  redound  to  the 
glory  of  Christ,  who  will  shortly  be  himself  admired 
in  alt  them  that  believe,  as  having  done  in  and  for 
them  man'ettous  things. 

[2.]  He  a/i/ilaudedWm  in  what  he  said  to  them 
that  followed.  All  believers  shall  be,  in  the  other 
world,  but  some  believers  are,  in  this  world,  confess- 
ed and  acknowledged  by  Christ  before  men,  in  his 
eminent  appearances  for  them  and  with  them.  Fe- 
rity, I  have  not  found  so  great  faith,  no,  not  in  Israel. 
Now  this  speaks,  Llrst,  Honour  to  the  centurion  ; 
who,  though  not  a  son  of  Abraham's  loins,  was  an 
heir  of  Abraham's  faith,  and  Christ  found  it  so. 
Note,  The  thing  that  Christ  seeks  is  faith,  and, 
wherever  it  is,  he  finds  it,  though  but  as  a  ^errain  of  \ 
mustard-seed.  He  had  not  found  so  great  faith,  all 
tilings  considered,  and  in  propoition  to  the  means  ; 
as  the  poor  widow  is  said  to  cast  in  more  than  they 
ait,  Luke  21.  3.  Though  the  centurion  was  a  Gen- 
tile, yet  he  was  thus  commended.  Note,  we  must 
be  so  far  from  grudging,  that  we  must  be  forward, 
to  give  those  their  due  praise,  that  are  not  within 
our  denomination  or  pale.  Secondly,  It  speaks  shame 
to  Israel,  to  whom  pertained  the  adoption,  the  glory, 


90 


SI'.  MATTHEW,  VIII. 


thu  covenants,  and  all  the  assistances  and  encourage- 
ments of  faith.  Note,  When  the  Son  of  I\Iati  comes, 
heji/uls  \\lt\e  faith,  and,  therefore,  he  finds  so  little 
fruit.  Note,  The  attainments  of  some,  who  have 
had  but  little  helps  for  their  souls,  will  aggravate 
the  sin  and  ruin  of  many,  that  have  had  great  plenty 
of  the  means  of  grace,  and  have  not  made  a  good 
improvement  of  them.  Christ  said  this  to  those  that 
followed  him,  if  by  any  means  he  might  provoke 
them  to  a  holy  emulation,  as  Paul  speaks,  Rom.  1 1. 
14  They  were  Abraham's  seed ;  in  jealousy  for 
that  honour,  let  them  not  suifer  themselves  to  be 
outstripped  by  a  Gentile,  especially  in  that  grace  for 
which  Abraham  was  "minent. 

(2.)  As  to  others.  Christ  takes  occasion  from 
hence,  to  make  a  comparison  between  Jews  and  Gen- 
tiles, and  tells  them  two  things,  which  could  not  but 
be  verv  surprising  to  them  wlio  had  been  taught 
that  salvation  was  of  the  Jews. 

[I.]  That  a  great  mam/  of  the  Gentiles  should  be 
saved,  v.  11.     The  faith  of  th-p  centurion  was  but  a 
specimen  of  the  conversion  oi  *he  Gentiles,  and  a 
preface  to  their  adoption  into  th^  church.  This  was 
a  topic  our  Lord  Jesus  touched  often  upon  ;   he 
speaks  it  with  assurance  ;  I  say  unto  xjou,  "I  that 
know  all  men  ;"  and  he  could  not  say  iiny  thing  more 
pleasing  to  himself,  or  more  displeasing  to  the  Jews ; 
an  intimation  of  this  kind  enraged  the  Nazarenes 
against  liini,  Luke  4.  27.     Christ  gives  us  here  an 
idea.  First,  Of  the /ieraoHX  that  shall  be  sai'crf;  many 
from  the  east  and  the  west :  he  had  said,  {ch.  7.  14.) 
Few  there  be  that  find  the  way  to  life ;  and  \et  here 
many  shall  come.     Few  at  one  time,  and  in  one 
place  ;  vet,  when  thev  come  all  together,  they  will 
be  a  gi'eat  manv.     We  now  see  but  here  and  there 
one  brouglit  to  grace  ;  but  we  sliall  shortly  see  the 
Captain  of  our  salvation  bringing  many  sons  to  glonj. 
Heb.  2.  10.     He  will  come  with/pn  thousands  of  his 
saints  ;  (Jude  14.)  with  such  a  company  as  7io  man 
can  nu?nber ;  (Kev.  7.  9.)  with  7iations  of  them  that 
are  saved.  Rev.  21.  24.     They  shall  come  /"row  the 
east,  and /rom  the  west ;  places  far  distant  from  each 
other  ;  yet  they  shall  all  meet  at  the  right  hand  of 
Christ,  the  centre  of  their  unity.    Note,  God  has  his 
remnant  in  all  places  ;  from  the  rising  of  the  sun,  to 
the  going  down  of  the  same,  Mai.  1.  11.     The  elect 
will  be  gatliered  from  the  four  winds,  ch.  24.  31. 
They  are  sown  in  the  earth,  some  scattered  in  every 
corner  of  the  field.    The  Gentile  world  lay  fro?n  east 
to  west,  and  they  are  especially  meant  here  ;  thougli 
they  wevQ  strauge7-s  to  the  covenant  of/iromise  now, 
and  had  been  long,  yet  who  knows  what  hidden 
ones  God  had  among  them  then  ?     As  in  Elijah's 
time  in  Israel,  (1  Kings  19.  14.)  soon  after  which 
they  flocked  into  the  church  in  great  multitudes,  Isa. 
60.  3,  4.     Note,  \\'hen  we  come  to  heaven,  as  we 
shall  miss  a  great  many  there,  that  we  thought  had 
been  going  thither,  so  we  shall  meet  a  great  many 
there,  that  we  did  not  expect.     Secondly,  Christ 
gives  us  an  idea  of  tlie  salvation  itself.     They  shall 
come,  sliall  come  together,  shall  come  together  to 
Christ,  2  Thcss.  2.  1.  1.  They  shall  be  admitted  into 
the  kingdom  of  grace  nn  earth,  into  the  covenant  of 
grace  made  with  Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob  ;  tliey 
shall  be  blessed  with  faithful  ^4braham,  whose  bless- 
ing comes  upon  the  Gentiles,  Gal.  3.  14.  This  makes 
Zaccheus  a  son  of  Abraham,  Luke  19.  9.     2.  They 
shall  beadniittedintotheX-;Ǥ-rfoOT  ofgloryinhearcen. 
They  shall  come  cheerfully,  flying  as  doves  to  their 
windows  ;  they  shall  sit  down  to  rest  from  their  la- 
bours, as  having  done  their  day's  work  ;  sitting  de- 
notes continuance  ;  while  we  stand,  we  are  going, 
where  we  sit,  we  mean  to  stay  ;  heaven  is  a  remain- 
ing rest,  it  is  a  continuing  city  ;  they  shall  sit  down, 
as  upon  a  dirone  ;  (Rev.  3.  21.)  as  at  a  table  ;  that 
is  the  metaphor  here ;  they  shall  sit  down  to  be 
feasted  ;  which  denotes  botH /u/ness  oi  communica- 


tion, and  freedom  and  familiarity  of  communion, 
Luke  22.  30.  They  shall  sit  down  with  Abraham. 
They  who  in  tliis  world  were  ever  so  far  distant 
from  each  other  in  time,  place,  or  outward  condi- 
tion, shall  all  meet  together  in  heaven  ;  ancients  and 
moderns,  Jews  and  Gentiles,  rich  and  poor.  The 
rich  man  in  liell  sees  Abraham,  but  Lazarus  sits 
down  with  him,  leaning  on  his  breast.  Note,  Holy 
society  is  a  part  of  the  felicity  of  heaven  ;  and  they 
on  whom  the  ends  of  the  world  are  come,  and  who 
are  most  obscure,  sliall  share  in  gloiy  with  the  re- 
nowneclpatriarchs. 

[2.]  That  a  great  many  of  the  Jews  should  perish, 
V.  12.     Observe, 

First,  A  strange  sentence  passed ;  The  children  of 
the  kingdom  shall  be  cast  out ;  the  Jews  that  persist  ■ 
in  unbelief,  though  they  were  h\  birth  children  oj 
the  kingdom,  yet  shall  be  cut  off  from  being  mem- 
bers of  the  visible  church  :  the  kingdom  of  God,  ol 
whicli  they  boasted  that  the\  were  the  children, 
shall  be  taken  from  tlicm,  and  they  shall  become 
not  a  /leople,  not  obtaining  mercy,  Horn.  11.  20. — 
9.  31.  In  the  great  day  it  will  not  avail  men  to  have 
been  children  of  the  kingdom,  either  as  Jews  or 
Christians ;  for  men  will  then  be  judged,  not  by  what 
they  were  called,  but  by  what  they  were.  If  chil 
dren  indeed,  then  heirs ;  but  many  are  children  m 
profession,  in  the  family,  but  not  of  it,  that  will  come 
short  of  the  inheritance.  Being  boni  of  professing 
parents  denominates  us  children  of  the  kingdom  ; 
but  if  we  rest  in  that,  and  ha\e  nothing  else  to  shew 
for  heaven  but  that,  we  shall  be  cast  out. 

Secondly,  A  str;mge  punishment  for  the  workers 
of  iniquity  described  ;  They  shall  be  cast  into  outer 
darkness,  the  darkness  of  those  that  are  without,  of 
the  Gentiles  that  were  out  of  the  church  ;  into  that 
the  Jews  were  cast,  and  into  worse  :  they  were 
blinded,  and  hardened,  and  filled  with  tenors,  as 
the  apostle  shews,  Rom.  11.  S — -10.  A  people  so 
unchurched,  and  given  up  to  spiritual  judgments, 
are  in  utter  darkiiess  already  :  but  it  looks  further, 
to  the  state  of  damned  sinners  in  hell,  to  which  the 
other  is  a  dismal  preface.  They  shall  be  cast  out 
from  God,  and  all  ti-ue  comfort,  and  cast  into  dark- 
ness. In  hell  there  is  fire,  but  no  lisht  ;  it  is  utter 
darkness ;  darkness  in  extremity  ;  the  highest  de- 
gree of  darkness,  without  any  remainder,  or  mix- 
ture, or  hope,  of  light ;  nor  the  least  gleam  ni-  glimpse 
of  it :  it  is  darkness  that  results  from  their  being 
shut  out  of  hea%en,  the  land  of  light  ;  they  who  are 
without,  are  in  the  regions  of  darkness  ;  yet  this  is 
not  the  worst  cf  it,  there  shall  he  wer/iing  and  gnash 
ing  of  teeth.  1.  In  hell  there  will  lie  great  griet 
floods  of  tears  shed  to  no  pui-pcse  :  anguish  of  spin 
preving  eternally  upon  the  vitals,  in  the  sense  ot  the 
wrath  of  God,  is  the  torment  of  the  damned.  2. 
Great  indignation  :  damned  sinners  will  gnash  their 
teeth  for  spite  and  vexation,  full  of  the  fury  of  the 
Lord ;  seeing  with  envy  the  hajipmess  of  others, 
and  reflecting  with  liorror  upon  the  frrmer  possi- 
bility of  their  own  being  happ\',  which  is  now  past. 
3.  He  cures  his  servant.  He  net  only  crmniends 
his  application  to  him,  but  giants  him  tliat  for  which 
he  applied,  which  was  a  real  answer,  v.  13.  Ob- 
serve, 

(1.)  What  Christ  said  to  him  :  he  said  that  which 
made  the  cure  as  great  a  favoxn-  to  him  iis  it  was  to 
his  senant,  and  much  greater  ;  As  thou  hast  belitv- 
ed,  so  be  it  done  to  thee.  The  sei-vant  ect  a  cure  of 
his  disease,  but  the  master  got  the  confinnation  and 
approbation  of  his  faith.  Note,  Chinst  cften  gives 
encouraging  answers  to  his  praving  people,  when 
they  are  interceding  for  others.  It  is  kindness  to  us, 
to  be  heard  for  others.  God  turned  the  captivity 
of  Job,  when  he  prayed  for  his  friends.  Job  42.  10. 
It  was  a  great  honour  which  Christ  put  upon  (his 
centurion,  when  he  gave  him  a  blank,  as  it  weie ; 


ST.  MATTHEW,  Vlll. 


91 


hr  It  done  as  thou  bclin<est.  What  could  he  have 
more  ?  Yet  what  was  said  to  him  is  said  to  us  all, 
Brlin'e,  and  ye  shall  recrh'e ;  only  belin't:     See 

'    hei-e  tlic  power  of  Clirist,  and  the  power  of  faith. 

I  At  Christ  can  do  what  he  will,  so  an  acti\e  belie\  er 
may  hax'e  what  he  will  from  Christ  ;  tlie  oil  of 
grace  multiplies,  iuid  stajs  not  till  the  vessels  of 
faith  fail. 

(2. )  \\'hat  was  the  effect  of  this  saying :  the  prayer 
of  faith  was  a  pre\  ailing  ])i-ayer,  it  ever  was  so,  and 
ever  will  be  so  ;  it  appears,  by  the  suddenness  of  the 
cure,  that  it  was  miraculous :  and  I)y  its  coincidence 
with  Christ's  s;iying,  that  the  niimde  was  his ;  he 
tjiake,  and  it  nvas  done  ;  and  this  was  a  proof  of  his 
omnipotence,  that  he  has  a  long  arm.  It  is  tlie  ob- 
servation of  a  leanietl  physician,  that  the  diseases 
Christ  cured  were  chiefly  such  as  were  the  most 
diflicult  to  be  cured  by  any  natural  means,  and  ])ar-  , 
ticularly  the  palsy.  Omnis  /uirulysis,  prn'sertim 
vetusta,  aut  incurabilis  est,  aut  difficilis  curatu,  etium  ' 
fiueris :  atyue  soleo  ego  dicere,  iiiorhos  omnes  (jui  \ 
Christo  curandi  fuerunt  jirojiositi  dijficillimos  sua  j 
nalurd  curatu  esse — Every  kind  of  jiulsy,  csfieciatty 
of  long  continuance,  is  either  incurable,  or  is  found 
to  yield,  iiith  the  utmost  difficulty,  to  medical  skUt, 
men  in  young  subjects;  so  that  I  have  frec/uently 
femurfced,  that  all  the  diseases  -.ehich  were  referred 
to  Christ  for  cure,  a/i/u-ar  to  have  been  of  the  ?nost 
obstinate  and  ho/ieless  kind.  Mercurialis  de  morbis 
pueixinmi,  lib.  2.  ca/i.  5. 

1-1.  And  when  Jesus  was  come  into  Pe- 
.'.er's  lioiise,  \}e  saw  his  wife's  mother  laid, 
and  si(k  of  a  fever.  15.  And  he  touciicd 
her  hand,  and  the  fever  left  her-:  and  she 
arose,  and  ministered  unto  them.  1 6.  ^Yllen 
the  even  was  come,  they  hrou^ht  unto  him 
many  that  were  possessed  with  devils :  and 
he  cast  out  the  spirits  with  his  word,  and 
healed  all  that  were  sick:  17.  That  it 
nii£;ht  be  fidlilled  which  was  spoken  by 
Esaias  the  prophet,  sa}nng,  Himself  took 
our  inlinnities,  and  bare  our  sicknesses. 

They  who  pretend  to  be  critical  in  the  Harmonv 
of  the  evangelists,  place  this  passage,  and  all  that 
follows  to  the  end  ot  ch.  9.  before  the  sermon  on  the 
mount,  according  to  the  order  which  Mark  and  Luke 
observe  in  placing  it.  Dr.  Lightfoot  places  onl\-  this 
passage  before  the  sermon  on  the  mount,  and  v.  18, 
kc  after.     Here  we  have, 

I.   A  particular  account  of  the  cure  of  Peter's 
Tvife's  mother,  who  was  ill  of  a  fex'er ;  in  which  ob-  ' 
sene,  i 

1.  The  case,  which  was  nothing  extraordinai-v  ; 
fevers  are  the  most  common  distempers ;  but,  the 
patient  being  a  near  relation  of  Peter's,  it  is  rccoi-d-  i 
ed  as  an  instance  of  Christ's  peculiar  care  of,  and 
kindness  to,  the  families  of  his  disciples.  Here  we 
find  (1.)  That  Peter  had  a  rjife,  and  yet  nvas  called 
to  be  an  afioslle  of  Christ ;  and  Christ  countenanced 
the  man-iagc  state,  by  being  thus  kind  to  his  luife's 
relations.  The  church  of  Rome,  therefore,  which 
forbids  ministers  to  mam',  goes  contran'  to  that 
apostle  from  whom  they  pretend  to  deiive'  an  infal- 
libility. (2. )  That  Peter  had  a  house,  though  Christ 
haxl  not,  v.  20.  Thus  was  the  disciple  better  pro- 
vided for  than  his  Loixl.  (3.)  That  he  had  a  house 
at  Capernaum,  though  he  was  originally  of  Qeth- 
saida ;  it  is  probable,  he  removed  to  Capernaum, 
when  Christ  removed  thither,  and  made  that  his 
principal  residence.  Note,  It  is  worth  while  to 
change  our  quartei-s,  that  we  may  be  near  to  Christ, 
and  ha\e  opportunities  of  converse  with  him.  Allien 


the  ark  removes,  Israel  must  remove,  and  go  after 
it.  (-1.)  That  he  had  his  7i'{/f's  m&Mrr  with  him  in 
his  fannly,  which  is  an  example  to  yoke-fellows  to 
be  kind  to  one  another's  relations  as  their  own. 
Pix)l)ably,  this  good  woman  was  old,  and  yet  was 
respected  and  taken  care  of,  as  old  pe<)l)le  ought  to 
be,  with  all  jjossible  tenderness.  (5.)  That  she  lay 
ill  of  a  fever.  Keither  the  strength  of  youth,  nor 
the  weakness  and  coldness  of  age,  will  be  a  fence 
against  diseases  of  this  kind.  The  palsy  w  as  a  chro- 
nical disease,  the  fc\  er  an  acute  disease,  but  both 
were  brought  to  Christ. 

2.  The  cure,  v.  15.  (1.)  How  it  was  effected , 
He  touched  her  hand ;  not  to  know  the  disease,  as 
the  physicians  do,  by  the  ])ulse,  but  to  heal  it.  This 
was  an  intimation  of  his  kindness  and  tenderness ; 
he  is  himself  touched  '.vilh  the  feeling  of  our  infirmi- 
ties :  it  likewise  shews  the  way  of  spiritual  healinij, 
bv  the  exerting  of  the  jjower  of  Christ  with  his 
w't)rd,  and  the  ap])licatitin  of  Christ  to  ourselves. 
'Die  scripture  s/ieaks  the  word,  the  Spirit  gives  the 
touch,  touches  the  heart,  touches  the  hand.  (2.) 
How  it  was  evidenced :  this  shewed  that  the  fei'er 
left  her,  she  arose,  and  ministered  to  them.  By  this 
it  appears,  [1.]  That  the  mercy  was  perfected. 
Tliey  that  reco\  er  from  fevers  b\'  the  power  of  na- 
ture,' are  commonly  weak  and  feeble,  and  unfit  for 
business,  a  great  while  after ;  to  shew  therefore  that 
this  cure  was  above  the  power  of  nature,  she  was 
immediately  so  well  as  to  go  abrut  the  business  of 
the  house.  '  [2.]  That  the  mercv  was  sanctified; 
and  the  mercies  that  are  so  are  indeed  perfected. 
Though  she  was  thus  dignified  l)y  a  jjeculiar  favour, 
yet  she  does  not  assume  importance,  but  is  as  ready 
to  wait  at  table,  if  there  be  occasion,  ;is  any  servant. 
Thev  must  be  humble  whom  Christ  has  honoured  ; 
being  thus  delivered,  she  studies  what  she  shall 
render.  It  is  \  ei-v  fit  that  tliey  vvhom  Christ  hath 
healed  should  minister  unto  him,  as  his  humble  scr- 
\  ants,  all  their  days. 

II.  Here  is  a  genci-al  account  of  the  many  cures 
that  Christ  wrought.  This  cure  '  f  Peter's  mother- 
in-law  brought  him  abundance  cf  patients.  "  He 
healed  such  a  one  ;  why  not  me  ?  Such  a  one's  friend, 
why  not  mine  ?"  Now  we  arc  here  told, 

l'.  ^^'hat  he  did,  T.  16.  (I.)  He  cast  oaf  dei'ils ; 
cast  out  the  evil  sfiirits  v.'ith  his  word.  There  may 
be  much  of  Satan's  agenc>-,  by  the  di\  ine  pel-mis- 
sion, in  those  diseases  of  which  natural  causes  may 
be  assigned,  as  in  Job's  boils,  cs])ccially  in  the  dis- 
eases of  the  mind  ;  but,  about  the  time  of  Christ's 
Ijeing  in  the  world,  there  seems  to  have  been  more 
than  an  ordinan'  letting  loose  of  the  devil,  to  possess 
and  vex  the  bodies  of  people  ;  he  came,  having 
great  wrath,  for  he  knew  that  his  time  was  short ; 
and  f  Jod  wisel"\'  ordered  it  so,  that  Christ  might  have 
the  fairer  and  more  frequent  opportunities  cf  shew- 
ing his  power  o\ei-  Satan,  and  tlie  puipose  and  de- 
sign of  his  coming  into  the  world,  which  was  to  dis- 
arm and  dispossess  S-atan,  to  break  his  power,  and 
to  destroy  his  works ;  and  his  success  was  as  glorious 
as  his  design  was  gi-acious.  (2.)  He  healed  all  that 
were  sick ;  all  without  exception,  though  the  patient 
was  e\er  so  mean,  and  the  case  ever  so  bad. 

2.  Hov>'  the  scripture  was  herein  fulfilled,  v.  17. 
The  accomplishment  of  the  Old-Testament  pro- 
phecies was  the  gi-eat  thing  Christ  had  in  his  eye, 
and  the  great  proof  of  his  being  the  Messiah  :  among 
other  things,  it  was  written  of  him,  (Isa.  53.  4.) 
Surely  he  hath  borne  our  griefs,  and  carried  our 
sorrows:  it  is  refen-ed  to,  1  "Pet.  2.  24.  and  there  it 
is  consti-ued,  he  hath  borne  our  sins:  here  it  is  re- 
ferred to,  and  is  construed,  he  hath  borne  our  sick- 
7iesses :  our  sins  make  our  sicknesses,  our  gnefs : 
Christ  bore  away  sin  by  the  merit  of  his  death,  and 
bore  awav  sickness  by  the  miracles  of  his  life  ;  nay, 
though  those  miracles  are  ceased,  we  may  say,  that 


92 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VIII. 


he  bore  our  sicknesses  then,  when  he  bore  our  sins  in 
his  own  body  ufion  the  tree  ;  for  sin  is  both  the  cause 
and  the  sting  of  sickness.  Many  are  the  diseases 
and  calamities  to  wliich  we  are  hable  in  the  body ; 
and  tliere  is  more,  in  this  one  line  of  the  gospels,  to 
support  and  comfort  us  under  them,  than  in  all  the 
writings  of  the  philosophers — that  Jesus  Christ  bore 
our  sicknesses,  and  carried  our  sorrows ;  he  bore 
them  before  us  ;  though  he  was  ne\er  sick,  yet  he 
was  hungry,  and  thirst)',  and  weary,  and  troubled 
in  spirit,  sorrowful  and  very  heavy  :  he  bore  them 
for  us  in  his  jiassion,  and  bears  them  with  us  in  com- 
passion, being  touched  with  the  feeliiig  of  our  iiifir- 
;  muies :  and  thus  he  bears  them  off  from  us,  and 
Vmakes  them  sit  light,  if  it  be  not  our  o%vn  fault. 
T)bserve  how  emphatically  it  is  expressed  here  : 
Himself  took  our  itifirmities,  and  bare  our  sicknesses  ; 
he  was  both  able  and  willing  to  interpose  in  that 
matter,  and  concerned  to  deal  with  our  in/irmities 
and  sicknesses,  as  our  Physician  ;  that  part  of  the 
calamity  of  the  human  nature  was  his  particular 
care,  which  he  evidenced  by  his  gi-eat  readiness  to 
cure  diseases ;  and  he  is  no  less  powerful,  no  less 
tender  now,  for  we  are  sure  that  never  were  any  the 
worse  for  going  to  heaven. 

18.  Now  when  Jesus  saw  great  multi- 
tudes about  him,  he  gave  commandment 
to  depart  unto  the  other  side.  1 9.  And  a 
certain  Scribe  came,  and  said  unto  him, 
Master,  I  will  follow  thee  whithersoever 
thou  goest.  20.  And  Jesus  saith  unto  him, 
The  foxes  have  holes,  and  the  birds  of  tlie 
air  have  nests ;  but  the  Son  of  man  hath 
not  where  to  lay  his  head.  21.  And  ano- 
ther of  his  disciples  said  unto  him,  Lord, 
suffer  me  first  to  go  and  bury  my  father. 
22.  But  Jesus  said  unto  him,  Follow  me ; 
and  let  the  dead  bury  their  dead. 

Here  is, 

I.  Christ's  removing  to  the  other  side  of  the  sea  of 
Tiberias,  and  his  ordering  his  disciples,  whose  boats 
attended  him,  to  get  their  transport-vessels  ready, 
in  order  to  it,  v.  18.  The  influences  of  this  Sun  of 
righteousness  were  not  to  be  confined  to  one  place, 
but  diffiised  all  the  country  over  ;  he  must  go  about 
to  do  good  ;  the  necessities  of  souls  called  to  him, 
Come  over,  and helji  us;  (Acts  16.  9.)  he  removed 
•when  he  saw  great  multitudes  about  him.  Though 
by  this  it  appeared  that  they  were  desirous  to  have 
him  there,  he  knew  there  were  others  as  desirous 
to  have  him  with  them,  and  they  must  have  their 
share  of  him  :  his  being  acceptable  and  useful  in 
one  place,  was  no  objection  agamst,  but  a  reason  for, 
his  going  to  another.  Thus  he  would  trj'  the  mul- 
titudes that  were  about  hi?n,  whether  their  zeal 
would  carry  them  to  follow  him,  and  attend  on  him, 
when  his  preaching  was  removed  to  some  distance. 
Many  would  be  glad  of  such  helps,  if  they  could 
have  them  at  next  door,  who  will  not  be  at  the  pains 
to  follow  them  to  the  other  side ;  and  thus  Christ 
shook  off  those  who  were  less  zealous,  and  the  per- 
fect were  made  manifest. 

II.  Christ's  communication  with  two,  who,  upon 
his  remove  to  the  other  side,  were  loth  to  stay  be- 
hind, and  had  a  mmd  to  follow  him,  not  as  others, 
who  were  his  followers  at  large,  but  to  come  into 
close  discipleship,  which  the  most  were  shy  of ;  for 
it  carried  such  a  face  of  strictness  as  they  could  not 
like,  nor  be  well  reconciled  to  ;  but  here  is  an  ac- 
count of  two  who  seemed  desirous  to  come  into  com- 
mimion,  and  yet  were  not  right ;  which  is  here  given, 
as  a  specimen  of  the  hindrances  by  which  many  are 


kept  from  closing  with  Christ,  and  cleaving  to  him  ; 
and  a  warning  to  us,  to  set  out  in  following  Christ, 
so  as  that  we  may  not  come  short  ;  to  lay  such  a 
foundation,  as  that  our  building  may  stand. 

We  have  here  Christ's  managing  of  two  different 
tempers,  one  quick  and  eager,  the  other  dull  and 
heavy  ;  and  his  instructions  are  adapted  to  each  of 
them,  and  designed  for  om'  use. 

1.  Here  is  one  that  was  too  hasty  in  promising ; 
and  he  was  a  certain  scribe,  {y.  19.)  a  scholar,  a 
learned  man,  one  of  those  that  studied  and  expound- 
ed the  law  ;  generally  we  find  them  in  the  gospels  to 
be  men  of  no  good  character;  usuaUy  cou])led  with 
the  Pharisees,  as  enemies  to  Christ  and  his  doctrine. 
Where  is  the  scribe?  1  Cor.  1.  20.  He  is  veiy  sel- 
dom following  Christ ;  yet  here  was  one  that  bid 
pretty  fair  for  discipleship,  a  Saul  among  the  pru 
phets.     Now  observe, 

(1.)  How  he  expressed  his  forwardness  ;  Master, 
J  will  follow  thee  whithersoever  thou  goest.     I  know 
not  how  any  man  could  have  spoken  better.     His 
self-dedication  to  Christ,  is,    [1.] 


^. 


of 


rofession 

i'ery  ready,  and  seems  to  be  ex  mero  motu — froTr. 
his  unbiassed  incliriation  ;  he  is  not  called  to  it  by 
Christ,  nor  urged  by  any  of  the  disciples,  but,  ci 
his  own  accord,  he  proffers  himself  to  be  a  close 
follower  of  Christ ;  he  is  not  a  pressed  man,  but  a 
volunteer.  [2.]  Very  resolute  ;  he  seems  to  be  at  a 
point  in  this  matter;  he  does  not  say,  "I  have  a 
mind  to  follow  thee,"  but  "I  am  determined,  I  will 
doit."  [3.]  It  was  unlimited  and  without  reterve  ; 
"  I  will  follow  thee  whithersoex^er  thou  goest ;  not 
only  to  the  other  side  of  the  countn,-,  but  if  it  were  to 
the  utmost  regions  of  the  world."  Now  we  should 
think  ourselves  sure  of  such  a  man  as  this  ;  and  yet  it 
appears,  by  Christ's  answer,  that  his  resolution  was 
rash,  his  ends  low  and  carnal :  either  he  did  not  con- 
sider at  all,  or  not  that  which  was  to  be  considered  : 
he  saw  the  miracles  Christ  wrought,  and  hoped  he 
would  set  up  a  temporal  kingdom,  and  he  wished  to 
apply  betimes  for  a  share  in  it.  Note,  There  are 
many  resolutions  for  religion,  produced  by  some 
sudden  pangs  of  conviction,  and  taken  up  without 
due  consideration,  that  prove  abortive,  and  come  to 
nothing  :  soon  ripe,  soon  rotten. 

(2.)  How  Christ  tried  his  forwardness,  whether  it 
were  sincere  or  not,  x'.  20.  He  let  him  know  that 
this  Son  of  man,  whom  he  is  so  eager  to  follow,  has 
not  where  to  lay  his  head,  v.  20.  Now  from  this 
account  of  Christ's  deep  poverty,  we  observe, 

[1.]  That  it  is  strange  in  itself,  that  the  Son  of 
God,  when  he  came  into  the  world,  should  put  him- 
self into  such  a  veiy  low  condition,  as  to  want  the 
convenience  of  a  certain  resting-place,  which  the 
meanest  of  the  creatures  have.  If  he  would  take  our 
nature  upon  him,  one  would  think,  he  should  have 
taken  it  in  its  best  estate  and  circumstances  :  no,  he 
takes  it  in  its  worst.  See  here.  First,  How  well  pro- 
vided for  the  inferior  creatures  are  :  The  foxes  have 
holes  ;  though  thev  arc  not  only  not  useful,  but  hurt- 
ful, to  man,  yet  'God  provides  holes  for  them,  in 
which  they  are  earthed  :  man  endeavours  to  destroy 
them,  but  thus  they  are  sheltered;  their  holes  are 
their  castles.  The  birds  of  the  air,  though  they  take 
no  care  for  themselves,  yet  are  taken  cai-e  of,  and 
have  nests ;  (Ps.  104.  17.)  nests  in  the  field ;  some  of 
them  iiests  in  the  house  ;  in  God's  courts,  Ps.  84.  3. 
Secondly,  How  poorly  the  Lord  Jesus  was  provided 
for.  It  may  encourage  us  to  trust  God  for  necessa- 
ries, that  the  beasts  and  birds  have  such  good  pro- 
vision ;  and  may  comfort  us,  if  we  want  necessaries, 
that  our  Master  did  so  before  us.  Note,  Our  Lord 
Jesus,  when  he  was  here  in  the  world,  submitted  to 
the  disgraces  and  distresses  of  extreme  po^•crty  ifor 
our  sakes  he  became  poor,  ver>'  poor.  He  had  not  a 
settlement,  had  not  a  place  of  repose,  not  a  house 
of  his  own,  to  put  his  head  in,  not  ?  pillow  of  his 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VIII. 


93 


( ■><m,  to  lay  his  head  on.  He  ami  his  disciples  lived 
\ipon  the  charity  of  wcU-dispuscd  people,  that  minis- 
lend  to  liim  of  their  substtnicc,  Ijuke  8.  2.  Christ 
submitted  to  this,  not  oiil)-  that  he  might  in  all  re- 
spects humble  himself,  and  fulfil  the  scriptures, 
which  spake  of  hin\  as  /loor  and  needy,  but  tliat  he 
viiij;ht  shew  us  the  vanity  of  worldly  wealth,  and 
teach  us  to  look  upon  it  w  ith  a  holy  contempt ;  that 
he  might  purchase  better  things  tor  us,  and  so  make 
us  rich,  2  Cor.  8.  9. 

[2.]  It  is  strange  that  such  a  declaration  should 
be  made  on  this  occasion.  When  a  Scribe  offered 
10  follow  Chi-ist,  one  woidd  think  he  would  have 
encouniged  him,  and  said.  Come,  and  I  nvill  take 
care  of  thee  ;  one  Scribe  might  be  capable  of  doing 
him  inore  credit  and  scr\ice  than  twelve  fisher- 
men :  but  Christ  saw  his  heart,  and  answered  to  the 
thoughts  of  that,  and  therein  teaches  us  all  how  to 
come  to  Christ.  First,  The  Scribe's  resolve  seems 
to  have  been  sudden ;  and  Christ  would  have  us, 
when  we  take  upon  us  a  profession  of  religion,  to  sit 
down,  arid  count  the  cost,  (Luke  14.  28.)  to  doit 
intelligently,  and  with  consideration,  and  choose  the 
way  of  go<lliness,  not  because  we  know  no  other,  but 
because  we  know  no  better.  It  is  no  advantage  to 
religion,  to  take  men  by  suipi-ise,  ere  they  are  aware. 
Thev  that  take  up  a  profession ;/(  a  pang,  will  throw 
it  off  again  in  a  fret ;  let  them,  therefore,  take  time, 
and  they  will  have  done  the  sooner :  let  him  that 
will  follow  Christ  know  the  worst  of  it,  and  expect 
to  lie  hard,  and  fare  hard.  Secondly,  His  resolve 
seems  to  have  been  from  a  worldly,  covetous  prin- 
cijjle.  He  saw  what  abundance '  of  cures  Cnrist 
wrought,  and  concluded  that  he  had  large  fees,  and 
would  get  an  estate  quickly,  and  therefore,  he 
would  follow  him  in  hopes  of  growing  rich  with 
him  ;  but  Christ  rectifies  his  mistake,  and  tells  him, 
he  was  so  far  from  gi-owing  rich,  that  he  had  not  a 
place  to  lay  his  head  on  ;  and  that  if  he  follow  him, 
he  cannot  expect  to  fare  better  than  he  fared. 
Note,  Christ  will  accept  none  for  his  followers  that 
aim  at  worldly  advantages  in  following  him,  or  de- 
sign to  make  any  thing  bvit  hea\en  of  their  religion. 
\\  e  have  reason  to  think  that  this  Scribe,  herevipon, 
iveiit  aii-ay  sorrowful,  being  disappointed  in  a  bar- 
gain which  he  thought  would  turn  to  account ;  he  is 
not  for  following  Christ,  unless  he  can  get  by  him. 

1.  Here  is  another  that  was  too  slow  in  perform' 
ing.  Delay  in  execution  is  as  bad  on  the  one'hand, 
as  precipitancy  in  resolution  is  on  the  other  hand  ; 
when  w-e  have  taken  time  to  consider,  and  then  ha\e 
determined,  let  it  never  be  said,  we  left  that  to  be 
done  to-morrow,  which  we  could  do  to-day.  This 
candidate  for  the  ministry  was  one  of  Christ's  disci- 
ples alreadv,  {v.  21.)  a 'follower  of  him  at  large. 
Clemens  .\'lexandnnus  tells  us,  from  an  ancient  tra- 
dition, that  this  was  Philip  ;  he  seems  to  be  better 
fiualified  and  disjjosed  than  the  former,  because  not 
so  confident  and  presunii)tuous  :  a  Ijold,  eager,  over- 
forward  temper  is  not  the  most  promising  in  reli- 
gion ;  sometimes  the  last  are  first,  and  the  first  last. 
Now  obser\e  here, 

( 1. )  The  excuse  that  this  disciple  made,  to  defer  an 
immediate  attendance  on  Christ  ;  (t.  21.)  "Lord, 
suffer  me  first  to  go  and  bury  mil  filher.  Before  I 
come  to  be  a  close  and  constant  follower  of  thee,  let 
me  be  allowed  to  j)crfonvi  this  last  office  of  respect 
to  my  father  ;  and  in  the  mean  time,  let  it  suffice  to 
be  a  hearer  of  thee  now  and  then,  when  I  can  spare 
time."  His  fiither  (some  think)  was  now  sick,  or 
dying,  or  dead  ;  others  think,  he  was  only  aged,  and 
not  likely  in  a  course  of  nature  to  continue  long ;  and 
he  desired  leave  to  attend  upon  him  in  his  sickness, 
at  his  death,  and  to  his  gi-ave,  and  then  he  would  be 
at  Christ's  service.  This  seemed  a  reasonable  re- 
luest,  and  yet  it  was  not  right.  He  had  not  the 
zeal  he  should  have  had  for  the  work,  and  therefoi-e 


pleaded  this,  because  it  seemed  a  plausible  plea. 
Note,  An  unwilling  mind  nc\er  wants  an  excuse. 
The  meaning  of  A'ow  vacut,  is,  jYon  placet — 'J'/ie 
want  of  leisure  is  the  watit  of  inclination.  A\'e  will 
supjiose  it  to  come  from  a  true  filial  affection  and 
respect  for  his  father,  vet  still  the  preference  should 
ha\  e  been  given  to  Christ.  Note,  M;uiy  are  hin- 
dercd/;-o/H  and  in  the  way  of  serious  godliness,  by 
an  over-concern  fcjr  their  families  and  relations ; 
these  lawful  thuigs  undo  us  iill,  and  our  dutj-  to  (jod 
is  neglected  and  postponed,  under  colour  of  dis- 
charging our  deljts  to  the  world  ;  here  therefore  we 
have  need  to  double  our  giuii'd. 

(2.)  Chi-ist's  disallowing  of  this  excuse;  {v.  22.) 
Jesus  said   unto  him.    Follow  me;   and,  no  doubt, 
power  accompanied  this  word  to  him,  as  to  others, 
and  he  did  Jollow  Christ,  and  clea\  ed  to  him,  as 
Uuth  to  Naomi,  when  the  Scribe,  in  the  verses  be- 
fore, like  Oipah,  took  leave  of  him.     That  said,  / 
will  follow  thee;   to  this  Christ  said,  Follolv  me; 
compai-ing  them  together,  it  is  intimated  that  we 
are  brought  to  Christ  by  the  force  of  his  call  to  us, 
not  of  our  promise  to  him  ;  it  is  not  of  him  that  wil- 
Icth,  7ior  oj  him  that  runneth,  but  ofGodtliat  shew- 
eth    mercy ;   he   calls  whom  he   will,   Rom.   9.    16. 
And  further.  Note,   Thovigh   chosen  vessels  may"~\ 
make  excuses,  ;md  delay  their  compliance  with  di- 
vine calls  a  gi-eat  while,  yet  Christ  will  at  length 
answer  their  excuses,  conquer  their  unwillingness, 
and  bi'ing  them  to  his  feet ;  when  Christ  calls.  It" 
v/Ul  o\ercomc,  and  make  the  call  effectual,  1  Sani. 
3.  10.     His  excuse  is  laid  aside  as  insufficient ;  Let 
the  dead  bury  their  dead.    It  is  a  jjroverbial  expres- 
sion; "Let  one  dead  man  bury  another :  rather  let 
them  lie  uiibuiied,  than  that  the  senice  of  Christ 
should  be  neglected.     Let  the  dead  spiritually  bury 
the  dead  corporally ;  let  worldly  offices  be  left  to 
worldly  peojjte ;  do'  not  thou  encumber  thyself  with 
them.     Bur)'ing  the  dead,  and  especiallv  a  dead 
father,  is  a  good  work,  but  it  is  not  thy  work  at  this 
time  ;  it  may  be  done  as  well  by  others,  that  are  not 
called  and  qualified,  as  tliou  art,  to  be  employed  for 
Christ ;  thou  hast  something  else  to  do,  and  must 
not  defer  that."    Note,  Piety  to  CJod  must  be  pre- 
ferred before  piety  to  parents,  though  that  is  a  great 
and  needful  part  of  our  religion.     The  Nazarites, 
under  the  law,  were  not  to  mouni  for  their  own  pa- 
rents, because  they  were  hoUt  to  the  Lord ;  (Numb. 
6.  6^8.)  nor  was  the  High-Priest  to  defile  himself 
for  the  dead,  no,  not  {or  his  own  father,  Lev.  21.  11, 
12.     .Vnd  Christ  requires  of  those  who  would  follow 
him,  that  ihcy  hate  father  and  mother;  (Luke  14. 
26.)  love  them  less  "than  God;  we  must  comixira- 
tively  neglect  and  disesteem  our  nearest  relations, 
when  they  come  in  competition  with  Christ,  and 
either  our  doing  for  him,  or  our  suffering  for  him. 

23.  And  when  he  was  entered  into  a 
ship,  his  disciples  followed  him.  24.  And, 
behold,  there  arose  a  great  tempest  in  the 
sea,  insomuch  that  the  ship  was  covered 
witli  the  waves :  but  he  was  asleep.  2.5. 
And  his  disciples  came  to  him,  and  awoke 
him,  saying,  Lord,  save  us :  we  perish.  26. 
And  he  saitii  unto  them,  Why  arc  ye  fear- 
ful, O  ye  of  little  faith  ?  Then  he  arose,  and 
rebuked  the  winds  and  the  sea;  and  there 
was  a  great  calm.  27.  But  the  men  mar- 
velled, saying.  What  manner  of  man  is 
this,  that  even  the  winds  and  the  sea  obey 
him  1 

Christ  had  gi\en  sailing  orders  to  his  disciples, 
(r.  18.)  that  they  should  depart  to  the  other  aids  o 


94 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VIII. 


the  sea  of  Tiberias,  into  tne  country  of  Gadai-a,  in 
the  tribe  of  Gad,  which  lay  east  of  Jordan  ;  thither 
he  would  go  to  rescue  a  poor  creature  that  was  pos- 
sessed with  a  leifion  oj  devi/s,  though  he  foresaw 
how  he  should  be  aflronted  there.  Now,  1.  He 
chose  to  go  by  water.  It  had  not  been  much  about, 
if  he  had  gone  by  land  ;  but  he  chose  to  cross  the 
lake,  that  he  might  have  occasion  to  manifest  him- 
self the  God  of  the  sea  as  well  as  of  the  dry  land,  and 
to  show  that  all  fion-er  is  his,  both  in  heai'en  and  in 
earth.  It  is  a  comfort  to  those  'H'ho  go  down  to  the 
sea  in  shi/is,  and  are  often  in  perils  there,  to  reflect 
that  they  have  a  Saviour  to  trust  in,  and  pray  to, 
who  knows  what  it  is  to  be  at  sea,  and  to  be  in  storms 
there.  But  observe,  when  he  went  to  sea,  l\e  had 
no  yacht  or  pleasure-boat  to  attend  him,  but  made 
use  of  his  disciples'  fishing-boats  ;  so  poorly  was  he 
accommodated  in  all  respects.  2.  His  disci/iles  fol- 
lowed him;  the  twelve  kept  close  to  him,  when 
otliers  stayed  behind  upon  the  terra  Jirma,  where 
there  was  sure  footing.  Note,  They,  and  they  only, 
will  be  found  the  true  disciples  of  Christ,  that  are 
willing  to  go  to  sea  with  him,  to  follow  him  into  dan- 
gers and  difficulties.  Many  would  be  content  to  go 
the  land-way  to  heaven,  that  will  rather  stand  still, 
or  go  back,  than  venture  upon  a  dangerous  sea  ;  but 
those  that  would  rest  with  Christ  hereafter  must 
follow  him  now  wherever  he  leads  them,  into  a  ship 
or  into  a  prison,  as  well  as  into  a  palace.  Now  ob- 
serve here, 

1.  The  peril  and  perplexity  of  the  disciples  in  this 
voyage  ;  and  in  this  appeared  the  tnith  of  what  Christ 
had  just  now  said,  that  those  who  follow  him  must 
count  upon  difficulties,  zk  20. 

1.  There  arose  a  very  great  storm,  w  24.  Christ 
could  ha\e  prevented  this  storm,  and  have  ordered 
them  a  pleasant  passage,  but  that  would  not  have 
been  so  much  for  his  gloiy  and  the  confirmation  of 
their  faith  as  their  deliverance  was  :  this  storm  was 
for  their  sakes,  as  John  11.  4.  One  would  ha\-e  ex- 
pected, that  having  Christ  with  them,  they  should 
have  had  a  very  favourable  gale,  but  it  is  quite  other- 
wise ;  for  Clirist  would  shew  that  they  who  were 
passing  with  him  over  the  ocean  of  this  world  to  the 
other  side,  must  expect  storms  by  the  way.  The 
church  is  tossed  with  tempests ;  (Isa.  54.  11.)  it  is 
only  the  upper  region  that  enjoys  a  pei-petual  calm, 
this  lower  one  is  ever  and  anon  disturbed  and  dis- 
turbing. 

2.  Jesus  Christ  k'qs  asleep  in  this  storm.  We  never 
read  of  Christ's  sleeping,  but  at  this  time  ;  he  was  in 
watchings  often,  and  continued  all  night  in  prayer  to 
God :  this  was  a  sleep,  not  of  security,  like  Jonah's 
in  a  storm,  but  of  holy  serenity,  and  dependence  upon 
his  Father :  he  slept,  to  shew  that  he  was  reallv  and 
truly  man,  and  subject  to  the  sinless  infirmities  of 
our  nature  :  his  work  made  him  weary  and  sleepy, 
and  he  had  no  guilt,  no  fear  within,  to  disturb  his  re- 
pose. Those  that  can  lay  their  heads  upon  the  pil- 
low of  a  clear  conscience,  may  sleep  quietly  and 
sweetly  in  a  storm,  (Ps.  4.  8.)  as  Peter,  .\cts  12.  6. 
He  slept  at  this  time,  to  try  the  faith  of  his  disciples, 
whether  they  could  tmst  him  when  he  seemed  to 
slight  them.  He  slept  not  so  much  with  a  desire  to 
be  refreshed,  as  with  a  design  to  be  awaked. 

3.  The  poor  disciples,  though  used  to  the  sea, 
were  in  a  great  fright,  and  in  their  fear  came  to  their 
Master,  v.  25.  Whither  else  should  they  go  ?  It 
was  well  thev  had  him  so  near  them.  They  awoke 
him  with  their  prayers  ;  Lord,  save  us,  we  perish. 
Note,  They  who  would  learn  to  pray  must  go  to  sea. 
Imminent  and  sensible  dangers  will  drive  people  to 
him  who  alone  can  help  in  time  of  need.  Their 
prayer  has  life  in  it,  Lord,  save  us,  we  perish.  (I.) 
Their  petition  is.  Lord,  save  us.  They  believed  he 
could  save  them ;  they  begged  he  would.  Christ's 
errand  into  the  world  was  to  save,  but  those  only 


shall  be  saxied,  that  call  on  the  name  of  the  Lord, 
Acts  2.  21.  They  who  by  faith  are  interested  in  the 
eternal  salvation  wrought  out  by  Christ,  may  with 
a  humble  confidence  apply  themselves  to  him  foi 
temporal  deliverances.  Observe,  They  call  him. 
Lord,  and  then  pray.  Save  us.  Note,'  Christ  will 
save  none  but  those  that  are  willing  to  take  him  for 
their  Lord  ;  for  he  is  a  Prince  and  a  Saviour.  (2. ) 
Their  plea  is,  We  perish  ;  which  was,  [1.]  The  lan- 
guage of  their  fear :  they  looked  upon  their  case  as 
desperate,  and  gave  up  all  for  lost ;  they  had  receiv- 
ed a  sentence  ot  death  within  themselves,  and  this 
they  plead,  "  Tie  perish,  if  thou  dost  not  save  us; 
look  upon  us  therefore  with  pity."  [2.]  It  was  the 
language  of  their  fervency ;  they  pray  as  men  in 
earnest,  that  beg  for  their  i!\es  ;  it  becomes  us  thus 
to  strive  and  wrestle  in  prayer ;  therefore  Christ 
slept,  that  he  might  draw  out  this  iniportunitj'. 

II.  The  pov.er  and  grace  of  Jesus  Christ  put  forth 
for  their  succour ;  then  the  Lord  Jesus  awaked,  as 
one  refreshed,  Ps.  78.  65.  Christ  may  sleep  when 
his  church  is  in  a  storm,  but  he  will  not  out-sleep 
himself :  the  time,  the  set  time  to  favour  his  dis- 
tressed church,  will  come,  Ps.  102.  13. 

).  He  rebuked  the  disciples;  (t.  26.)  Why  are  ye 
fearful,  0  ye  of  little  faith?  He  does  not  chide  them 
for  disturbing  him  %\ith  their  prayers,  but  for  dis- 
turbing themselves  with  their  fears.  Christ  reprov- 
ed them  first,  and  then  delivered  them  ;  this  is  his 
method,  to  prepare  us  for  a  mercy,  and  then  to  give 
it  us.  Observe,  (1.)  His  dislike  of  their  fears; 
"  Why  are  ye  fearful?  Ye,  my  disciples?  Let  the 
sinners  in  Zionbe  afraid,  let  heathen  mariners  trem- 
ble in  a  storm,  but  you  shall  not  be  so.  Inquire  into 
the  reasons  of  your  fear,  and  weigh  them."  (2.) 
His  discoveiy  ot  the  cause  and  spring  of  their  fears; 
O  ye  of  little  faith.  Many  that  have  true  faith  are 
weak  in  it,  and  it  does  but  little.  Note,  [l.J  Christ's 
disciples  are  apt  to  be  disquieted  with  fears  in  a 
stormy  day,  to  torment  themsehes  with  jealousies 
that  things  are  bad  with  them,  and  dismal  conclu- 
sions that  they  will  be  worse.  [2.]  The  prevalence 
of  our  inordinate  fears  in  a  stormy  dav  is  owing  to 
the  weakness  of  our  faith,  which  would  be  as  an  an- 
chor to  the  soul,  and  would  plv  the  oar  of  prayer. 
Byjaith  we  might  see  through  the  storm  to  the  quiet 
shore,  and  encourage  ourselves  with  hope  that  we 
shall  weather  our  point.  [3.]  The  feartiilness  of 
Christ's  disciples  in  a  storm,  and  their  unbelief,  the 
cause  of  it,  are  very  displeasing  to  the  Lord  Jesus, 
for  they  reflect  dishonour  upon  liim,  and  ci"eate  dis- 
turbance to  themselves. 

2.  He  rebukes  the  wind;  the  former  he  did  as  the 
God  of  grace,  and  the  Sovereign  of  the  heart,  who 
can  do  what  he  pleases  in  us  ;  this  he  did  as  the  God 
of  nature,  the  Sovereign  of  the  world,  who  can  do 
what  he  pleases  for  us.  It  is  the  same  power  that 
stills  the  noise  of  the  sea,  and  the  tumult  of  fear,  Ps. 
65.  7.  See,  (1.)  How  ea.vly  this  was  done,  with  a 
word's  speaking.  Moses  commanded  the  waters 
with  a  rod  ;  Joshua,  with  the  ark  of  the  covenant ; 
Elisha,  with  the  prophet's  mantle  ;  but  Christ  with 
a  word.  See  his  absolute  dominion  over  all  the  crea- 
tures, which  bespeaks  both  his  honour,  and  the  hap- 
piness of  those  that  have  him  on  their  side.  (2.) 
How  effectually  it  was  done  ;  There  was  a  great  calm, 
all  of  a  sudden.  Ordinarily,  after  a  storm,  there  is 
such  a  fret  of  the  waters,  that  it  is  a  good  while  ere 
they  can  settle ;  but  if  Christ  speak  the  word,  not 
only  the  storm  ceases,  but  all  the  effects  of  it,  all  the 
rernains  of  it.  Great  storms  of  doubt  and  fear  of  the 
soul,  under  the  power  of  the  spirit  of  bondage,  some- 
times end  in  a  wonderful  calm,  created  and  spoken 
by  the  Spirit  of  adoption. 

3.  This  excited  their  astonishment  ;(•!'.  27.)  77;? 
men  marvelled.  They  had  been  long  acquainted 
with  the  sea,  and  never  saw  a  storm  so  immediately 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VIII. 


95 


tiimed  into  a  perfect  calm,  in  all  their  lives.  It  has 
all  the  marks  and  signatures  of  a  miracle  upon  it ;  it 
in  the  Lord's  doing,  and  is  marvcl/ou-s  in  t/irir  furs. 
Observe,  (1.)  Their  adminition  of  Christ;  ll/iat 
manner  of  man  is  this!  Note,  Christ  is  a  Nonsuch  ; 
every  thing  in  him  is  admiraljle :  none  so  wise,  so 
mighty,  so  amiable,  as  he.  (2.)  The  reason  of  it; 
Even  ' tlie  winds  and  the  sea  obey  him.  Upon  this 
account,  Clirist  is  to  be  admired,  that  he  has  a  com- 
manding power  even  over  winds  and  seas.  Others 
pretendccl  to  cure  diseases,  but  he  only  underttwk  to 
command  the  winds.  We  know  nut  the  way  of  the 
wind,  (Jolin  3.  8.)  nnich  less  can  we  control  it;  but 
he  that  6ringeth  forth  the  wind  out  of  his  treasury, 
(Ps.  135.  7.)  when  it  is  out,  gathers  it  into  his  fists, 
Prov.  30.  4.  He  that  can  (lo  this,  can  do  imy  thing, 
can  do  enough  to  cncounige  our  confidence  and  com- 
fort in  him,  m  the  most  stormy  day,  within  or  with- 
out, Isa.  26.  4.  The  Lord  sits  upon  the  floods,  and 
is  mightier  than  the  noise  of  many  waters.  Christ, 
bv  commanding  the  seas,  showed  himself  to  be  the 
same  that  made  Che  world,  ivhen,  at  his  rebuke,  the 
waters  fled,  (Ps.  104.  7,  8.)  as  now,  at  his  rebuke, 
they  fe\l. 

28.  And  wiuni  he  was  romo  to  the  other 
side,  into  the  country  of  the  Gergesenes, 
tliere  met  him  two  possessed  n\  itii  devils, 
coming  out  of  tlie  tombs,  exceeding  fierce, 
so  that  no  man  might  pass  by  tiiat  way. 
29.  And,  behold,  they  cried  out,  saying, 
Wliat  have  wc  to  do  with  thee,  Jesus,  thou 
Son  of  God  ?  Art  thou  come  iiither  to  tor- 
ment us  before  the  time  ?  30.  And  there 
was  a  good  way  off  from  them  an  herd  of 
many  swine  feeding.  31.  So  the  devils 
besought  him,  saving,  If  thou  cast  us  out, 
suffer  us  to  go  away  into  the  herd  of  swine. 
32.    And  he  said  unto  them.  Go.     And 


wlien  they  were  come  out,  they  went  into 
the  iierd  of  swine :  and,  behold,  the  whole 
herd  of  swine  ran  violently  down  a  steep 
place  into  the  sea,  and  perished  in  the  wa- 
ters :  33.  And  they  that  kept  them  fled, 
and  went  their  ways  into  tlie  city,  and  told 
every  thing,  and  wliat  was  befallen  to  the 
possessed  of  t!ie  devils.  34.  And,  behold, 
the  wliolc  city  came  out  to  meet  .Tcsus : 
and  wiien  they  saw  him,  they  besought  him 
that  he  would  depart  out  of  their  coasts. 

We  have  here  the  story  of  Christ's  casting  the 
devils  out  of  two  men  that  were  possessed.  The 
scope  of  this  chapter  is  to  show  the  divine  power  of 
Christ,  by  the  instances  of  his  dominion  over  bodih- 
diseases,  which  to  us  are  irresistilile  ;  o\er  winds  and 
waves,  which  to  us  are  yet  more  uncontrollable  ;  and 
lastly,  over  devils,  which  to  us  are  most  formidable 
of  all.  Christ  has  not  onlv  all  fiower  in  heaven  and 
earth  .and  all  deep  places',  but  has  the  keys  of  hell 
too.  Principalities  and  powers  were  made  subject  to 
him,  even  while  he  was  in  his  estate  of  humiliation, 
as  an  eaniest  of  what  should  be  at  his  entrance  into 
his  glory  ;  (Eph.  1.  21.)  he  spoiled  them,  Col.  2.  15. 
It  was  observed  in  general,  (v.  16.)  that  Christ  cast 
out  the  spirits  with  his  word ;  here  we  have  a  parti- 
cular instance  of  it,  which  had  some  circumstances 
more  remarkable  than  the  rest.  This  miracle  was 
wrought  in  the  country-  of  the  Gergesenes ;  some 
think,  they  were  the  rernains  of  the  old  Girgashites, 
fleut  r.  1.     Though  Christ  was  sent  chiefly  lo  the 


lost  sheep  of  the  house  of  Israel,  yet  some  sallies  he 
made  among  the  borderers,  as  here,  to  gain  this  vic- 
tory over  Satan,  which  was  a  specimen  of  the  con- 
quest of  his  legions  in  the  Gentile  world. 

Now,  beside  the  general  instance  which  this  gi\  es 
us  of  Christ's  power  over  Satan,  and  his  d(  signs 
against  liim  to  disarm  and  dispossess  him,  we  have 
here  especially  discovered  to  us  the  wa\-  and  manner 
of  evil  spirits  in  their  enmity  to  man.  Obsen  e,  con- 
cerning tills  legion  of  devils,  A\'hat  work  they  made 
where  they  iivrc,  and  where  they  irrnt. 

I.  \Miat  work  they  made  wliere  they  were ;  which 
appears  in  the  miserable  condition  of  tliese  two  that 
were  possessed  bv  them  ;  and  some  think,  these  two 
were  man  and  wife,  because  the  other  Evangelists 
speak  but  of  one. 

1.  The\-  dwelt  among  the  tombs;  thence  they 
came  when  they  met  Christ.  The  Devil  having 
the  fiowcr  of  death,  not  as  judge,  but  as  executifiner, 
he  delighte'th  to  converse  among  the  tropliies  of  his 
\  ictorv,  the  dead  Ijodies  of  men  ;  but  there,  where 

I  he  thought  himself  in  his  greatest  triumph  and  ele- 
vation, as  afterwards  in  Golgotha,  the  place  of  a 

I  skull,  did  Christ  conquer  and  subdue  him.  Con- 
versing among  the  graves  increased  the  melancholy  • 

i  and  frenz)'  of  the  poor  possessed  creatures,  and  so 

1  strengthened  the  hold  he  had  of  them  by  their  Iio- 
dily  distemper,  and  also  made  them  more  formidable 
to  other  ijeople,  who  generally  startle  at  any  thing 
that  stirs  among  the  tombs. 

2.  Thev  were  exceeding  fierce ;  not  only  ungovern- 
able themselves,  l)ut  mischievous  to  others,  fright- 
ening main-,  having  hurt  some  ;  so  that  no  man  durst 
pass  that  way.  Note,  The  De\  il  bears  malice  to 
mankind,  and  shows  it,  by  making  men  s])iteful  and 
malicious  one  to  another.  Mutual  enmities,  where 
there  should  be  mutual  endearments  and  assistances, 
are  effects  and  evidences  of  Satan's  enmity  to  the 
whole  race :  he  makes  one  man  a  wolf,  a  bear,  a 
de\il,  to  anoth.er — Homo  homini  lupus.  \N'here 
Satan  niles  in  a  man  spirituallj-,  by  those  lusts  that 
war  in  the  members,  pride,  en\y,' malice,  rexengc, 
thev  make  him  as  unfit  for  hurhan  society,  as  un- 
worthy of  it,  and  as  much  an  enemy  to  the  comfort 
of  it,  as  these  jjoor  possessed  creatures  were. 

3.  They  bid  defiance  to  Jesus  Christ,  and  disclaim- 
ed all  interest  in  him,  v.  29.  It  is  an  instance  of  the 
power  of  God  over  the  devils,  that,  notwithstanding 
the  mischief  they  studied  to  do  by  and  to  these  poor 
creatures,  vet  they  could  not  keep  them  from  meet- 
ing Jesus  Christ,  who  ordered  tlic  matter  so  as  to 
meet  them.  It  was  his  overpowering  hand  that 
dragged  these  unclean  spirits  into  his  presence,  which 
thev  dreaded  more  than  any  thing  else  :  his  chains 
could  liold  them,  when  the  chains  men  made  for 
them  could  not.  But,  being  brought  bef<  re  him, 
they  protested  against  his  jurisdiction,  and  broke  oul 
into  a  rage,  Jl'hat  hni'e  we  to  do  with  thee,  Jesus, 
thou  Son  of  God?  Here  is, 

(1.)  One  word  the  Devil  spoke  like  a.  saint;  he 

addressed  himself  to  Christ  as  Jesus  the  Son  of  God ; 

a.  good  w-ord,  and  at  this  time,  when  it  was"  a  truth 

but  in  the  proving,  it  was  a  great  word  too,  what 

flesh  and  blood  did  not  reveal  to  Peter,  ch.  16.  16. 

Even  the  devils  know  and  believe,  and  confess  Christ 

to  be  the  Son  of  God,  .and  yet  they  arc  devils  still, 

which  makes  their  enmity  to  Christ  so  much  the 

more  wicked,  and  indeed  a  perfect  tomient  to  them- 

!  selves;  for  how  can  it  be  otherwise,  to  rijpose  one 

\  they  know,  to  be  the  Son  of  God?  Note,  It  is  not 

:  knciwdedge,  but  love,  that  distinguishes  saints  from 

devils.  Heisthefirst-bornof  hell,  that  knows  Christ, 

and  vet  hates  him,  and  will  not  be  subject  to  him 

and  his  law.     ^^'c  may  remember  that  not  long  since 

the  Devil  made  a  doubt  whether  Christ  were  the 


Son  of  God  or  not,  and  would  have  pei-suaded  him 
to  question  it,  (c/;.  4.  5.^  but  now  he  readily  owns  it. 


96 


ST.  MATTHEW,  VIII. 


Note,  Though  God's  children  ma)-  be  much  disqui- 
eted in  an  liour  of  temptation,  l)y  hat;m's  questioning 
their  relation  to  God  as  a  Fattier,  yet  the  Spirit  of 
adoption  sliall  at  lengtli  clear  it  up  to  them  so  much 
to  their  satisfaction,  as  to  set  it  even  above  the  De- 
vil's contradiction. 

(2. )  Two  woi-ds  that  he  said  like  a  devil,  like  him- 
self. 

[1.]  A  word  of  deiiance  ;  ]Vlmt  have  ive  to  do  nvith 
thee?  Now,  I'irst,  It  is  true,  that  tlie  devils  have 
nothing  to  do  with  Christ  as  a  Saviour,  for  he  took 
not  on  him  the  nature  of  the  angels  that  tell,  nor  did 
he  lay  hold  on  them ;  (Heb.  2.  16.)  they  are  in  no 
relation  to  him,  they  neither  have,  nor  hope  for,  any 
benefit  by  liim.  O  the  depth  of  this  ni}"stery  of  di- 
vine lo\e,  that  fallen  nuui  liath  so  mucli  to  do  nvith 
Christ,  when  fallen  angels  ha\'e  nothing  to  do  nvith 
him  I  Surely  here  was  torment  enough  before  the 
time,  to  be  forced  to  own  the  excellency  that  is  in 
Christ,  and  yet  that  he  has  no  interest  in  him.  Note, 
It  is  possible  for  men  to  call  Jesus  the  Son  of  God, 
and  yet  ha\e  nothing  to  do  with  him.  Secondly,  It 
is  as  tnie,  that  the  dexils  desire  not  to  have  any  thing 
to  do  nvith  C/irist  as  a  Ruler;  they  hate  him,  they 
are  filled  with  enmity  against  him,  the)'  stand  in  op- 
position to  him,  and  are  in  open  rebellion  against  his 
crown  and  dignity.  See  whose  language  they  speak, 
that  will  have  nothing  to  do  nvith  the  gospel  of  Christ, 
with  his  laws  and  ordinances,  that  thi'ow  off  his  )'oke, 
that  break  his  bands  in  sunder,  and  nvill  not  have  him 
to  reign  over  them  ;  that  say  to  the  .ilinig!ity  Jesus, 
Depart  from  us:  they  are  of  their  father  the  Devil, 
they  do  his  lusts,  and  speak  his  language.  Thirdly, 
But  it  is  not  true,  that  the  de\"ils  ha\c  nothing  to  do 
nvith  Christ  as  a  Judge,  for  they  have,  and  they  know- 
it  Tliese  de\'ils  could  not  say,  Jl'hat  hast  thou  to 
do  nvith  us  ?  could  not  deny  that  the  Son  of  God  is 
the  Judge  of  devils ;  to  his  judgment  they  are  bound 
over  in  chains  of  darkness,  which  they  would  fain 
shake  ofl",  and  shake  off  the  thought  of^ 

[2.  ]  A  word  of  dread  and  deprecation  ;  "  ^irt  thou 
co?ne  hither,  tt>  torment  us — ^to  cast  us  out  from  these 
men,  and  to  restrain  us  from  doing  the  hurt  we  would 
do.'"'  Note,  To  be  turned  out,  imd  tied  up,  from 
doing  mischief,  is  a  torment  to  the  Devil,  all  whose 
comfort  ;uid  satisfaction  are  man's  misery  and  de- 
struction. Should  not  we  then  count  it  our  heaxen 
to  be  doing  well,  and  reckon  that  our  toiTnent,  whe- 
ther within  or  without,  that  hinders  us  from  well- 
doing ?  Now  must  we  l)e  tormented  by  tliee  before 
the  time?  Note,  First,  There  is  a  time  in  which 
devils  will  be  more  tormented  than  they  are,  and 
they  know  it.  The  gi-cat  assize  at  the  last  day  is  the 
time  fl.xed  for  their  complete  torture,  in  that  Tophet 
which  is  ordained  oio\A,  forthe  king,  for  the  firince 
of  the  dextils,  and  his  angels  ;  (Isa.  30.  33.  Matt  25. 
4:1.)  for  the  judgment  of  that  day  they  are  reserx^ed, 
2  Pet  ii.  4.  Tliose  m;dignant  spirits  that  are,  by 
the  di\ine  peitnission,  prisoners  at  large,  walking  to 
and  fro  through  the  earth,  (Job  1.  7.)  are  even  now 
in  a  chain  ;  hitherto  shall  their  power  reach,  and  no 
further ;  they  will  then  be  made  close  prisoners ;  they 
ha\'e  now  some  ease ;  they  will  then  be  in  torment 
without  ease.  This  they  here  take  for  gi-anted,  and 
ask  not  never  to  be  tonnented,  (despair  of  relief  is 
the  misery  of  their  case, )  but  they  beg  that  they  may 
not  be  tormented  before  t lie  time ;  for  though  they 
knew  not  when  the  day  of  judgment  should  be,  they 
knew  it  should  not  be  yet  Secondly,  The  devil's 
have  a  certain  fearful  looking  for  of  that  judgment 
and  fiery  indignation,  upon  even,-  approach  of  Christ, 
and  every  check  that  is  given  to  their  power  and 
rage.  The  very  sight  of  Christ,  and  his  word  of 
command  to  come  out  of  the  man,  made  them  thus 
apprehensive  of  their  torment.  Thus  the  devils  be- 
lieve, and  tremble,  Jam.  2.  19.  It  is  their  own  en- 
nvtv  to  God  and  man  that  puts  them  upon  the  rack, 


and  torments  them  before  the  time.  The  most  dcs 
perate  sinners,  whose  damnation  is  sealed,  yet  can 
not  quite  harden  their  hearts  against  the  sin-jjrise  of 
fearfulr.ess,  nvhen  they  see  the  day  a/ifroaching. 

II.  Let  us  now  see  what  work  they  made  where 
they  nvent,  when  they  were  turned  out  of  the  men 
possessed,  and  that  was  into  a  herd  of  snvine,  which  ■ 
nvas  a  good  nvay  off,  v.  30.  These  Gcrgesenes, 
though  li\ing  on  the  other  side  Jordan,  were  Jews. 
^\'hat  had  they  to  do  with  snvi7ie,  which  by  the  law 
were  unclean,  and  not  to  be  eaten  noi'  touched  i 
Probably,  lying  in  the  outskirts  of  the  land,  there 
were  man)'  Gentiles  among  them,  to  whom  this  /lerd 
of  swine  Ijelonged  :  or  they  kept  them  to  he  sold,  oi 
bartered,  to  the  Uomans,  with  whom  they  had  no-w 
great  dealings,  and  who  were  admirers  of  snvine's 
flesh.     Now  obsene, 

1.  How  the  devils  seized  the  snvine.  Though  they 
were  a  good  nvay  off,  and,  one  would  think,  out  of 
danger,  vet  the  devils  had  ;m  e)-e  upon  them,  to  do 
them  a  miscliief :  for  they  g-o  iiji  and  down,  seeking 
to  dei'our,  seeking  an  opportunity,  and  they  seek 
not  long  but  they  find.     Now  here, 

(1.)  They  asked  leave  to  enter  into  the  snvine  ;  {v. 
31.)  they  besought  him,  with  all  earnestness.  If  thou 
cast  us  out,  suffer  us  to  go  anvay  into  the  herd  of 
snvine.  Hereb)-,  [1.]  They  discover  their  own  in- 
clination to  do  mischief,  and  what  a  pleasure  it  is  to 
them :  those,  therefore,  are  their  children,  and  re- 
semble them,  nvhose  slec/i  dejiarteth  from  them,  ex- 
cept they  cause  some  to  fall,  Pro\-.  4.  16.  "  Let  us 
go  into  the  herd  of  snvine,  any  where  rather  than  into 
the  place  of  torment,  any  where  to  do  mischief." 
If  they  might  not  be  suffered  to  hurt  men  in  their 
bodies,  they  would  hurt  them  in  their  goods,  and  in 
that  too  they  intend  hurt  to  their  souls,  b)"  making 
Christ  a  l5urthen  to  them  :  such  malicious  de\ices 
hath  that  old  subtle  sei-pent !  [2.  ]  They  own  Christ's 
power  oxer  them  ;  that,  without  his  suffci'ance  and 
permission,  the)-  could  not  so  much  as  hurt  a  snvine. 
This  is  comfortable  to  all  the  Lord's  people,  that, 
though  the  Devil's  power  be  very  great,  yet  it  is 
limited,  and  not  equ;d  to  his  malice ;  (what  woidd 
become  of  us,  if  it  were .-')  especially  that  it  is  under 
the  control  of  our  Lord  Jesus,  our  most  faithful, 
powerful  Friend  and Saxiour ;  that  Satan  and  his  hi- 
sti-uments  can  go  no  further  tlian  he  is  pleased  to 
peiTnit ;  Iiere  shall  their  Jiroud  nvaves  be  stayed. 

(2. )  The)-  had  leave.  Christ  said  unto  them.  Go,  {v. 
32.)  as  God  did  to  Satan,  when  he  desired  leaxe  to 
afHict  Job.  Note,  God  does  often,  for  v.'isc  and  holy 
ends,  permit  the  efforts  of  Satan's  rage,  and  suffer 
him  to  do  the  mischief  he  would,  and  cxen  by  it 
serve  his  own  puii^oses.  The  devils  are  not  only 
Christ's  captives,  but  his  vassals;  his  dominion  over 
them  appears  in  the  harm  they  do,  as  well  as  in  the 
hindrance  of  them  from  doing  more.  Thus  even  their 
wrath  is  made  to  praise  Christ,  and  the  remain- 
der of  it  he  does  and  will  restrain.  Christ  permitted 
this,  [1.]  For  the  ccm-iction  cf  the  Sadducees  that 
were  then  among  the  Jews,  who  denied  the  exist- 
ence of  spirits,  and  would  not  own  that  there  wei-c 
such  beings,  because  they  could  not  see  them.  Now 
Christ  would,  by  this,  bring  it  as  near  as  might  be 
to  an  ocular  demonstration  of  the  being,  multitude, 
power,  and  malice,  of  ex  il  spirits,  that,  if  the)"  xvere 
not  hereby  convinced,  they  might  be  left  inexcusa- 
ble in  their  infidelity.  \\'e  see  not  the  xvind,  but  it 
would  be  absurd  to  denx'  it,  when  we  see  trees  and 
houses  bloxvn  doxvn  by  it.  [2.]  For  the  punish- 
ment of  the  Gadarenes,  who  ]jerhaps,  though  Jexvs, 
took  a  liberty  to  eat  swine's  flesh,  contri'.ry  to  the 
law  :  hoxvev'er,  their  keeping  snvine  bordered  upon^  ] 
ex'il ;  and  Christ  would  also  shexv  what  a  hellish  j 
crew  they  were  delivered  from,  which,  if  he  had  -| 
permitted  it,  would  soon  have  choked  them,  as  they  | 
did  their  snvine.  The  devils,  in  obedience  to  Chiirt's 


ST.  MATTHEW.  IX. 


97 


command,  came  nut  of  the  men,  and,  having  ];cr- 
niission,  rjhen  l/iiy  wire  come  out,  immediately  they 
ivent  into  the  herd  oj  mi'ine.  See  what  an  indus- 
trious enemy  Satan  is,  and  Iiow  expeditious  ;  he  will 
lose  MO  time  in  doint;miscliiet'.     Observe, 

2.  Whither  they  hurried  them,  when  they  had 
seized  ihcm.  They  were  not  bid  to  save  their  tri'es, 
and,  therefore,  iney  were  made  to  run  violently 
down  a  stee/i  /ilace  into  the  sea,  where  they  all  jje- 
rished,  to  the  number  of  about  two  thoumn'd,  Mark 
5.  13.  Note,  The  possession  wliich  the  Devil  gets 
is  for  destruction.  Tluis  the  De\ilhurries  ])eople 
to  sin,  hurries  them  to  that  wliich  thcv  liave  resolv- 
ed aijainst,  and  whicli  they  know  will'be  shame  and 
griet  to  tliem  :  with  wluit  a  force  doth  the  e\  il  sjji- 
rit  iforj:  in  the  children  of  disobedience,  when  by  so 
many  foolish  and  liuitful  lusts  tliev  are  brousht  to' act 
in  direct  contradiction,  not  onlv'to  reliijion,  l)ut  to 
ri\;ht  reason,  and  their  interest  In  this  world  !  'I'luis, 
likewise,  liehuriies  them  to  niiii,  for  he  is  Apollyon 
anil  Abaddon,  the  great  dcsti-oycr.  B\  Ins  liists 
which  men  do,  they  are  drowned'  in  destruction  and 
fierdition.  This  is  Satan's  will,  to  s-ii-alloni'  ufi  and 
to  devour ;  miseral>lc  then  is  the  condition  of  those 
that  are  led  cafitive  hy  him  at  his  will.  Thev  arc 
liun-ied  into  a  worse  lake  th;m  this,  a  lake  that  bums 
with  fire  and  brimstone.     Observe, 

3.  Ultal  effect  had  this  u/ion  the  owners.  The 
report  of  it  was  soon  brought  them  In-  the  swine- 
nerds,  who  seemed  to  be  more  concerned  for  the  li  ss 
of  the  swine  than  any  thing  else,  for  they  went  not 
ro  lell  what  was  befallen  to  the  /lossessed  of  the  dex'ih, 
'ill  the  swine  were  lost,  v.  33.  Christ  went  not  into 
Ih  e  city,  but  the  news  of  his  being  there  did,  by  which 
he  was  willing  to  feel  how  their  pulse  beat,  and  what 
inHuenre  it  had  upon  them,  and  then  act  accordingly. 

Now,  (_1.)  Their  curiosity  brought  them  out  to  see 
Jesus.  1  he  whole  city  came  out  to  meet  him,  that 
they  might  be  able  to  sav,  the\-  had  seen  a  man  who 
did  s.ich  wonderful  works.  Thus  manv  go  out,  in' 
profession,  to  meet  Chi'ist  for  companv,  'that  ha\  c  no 
real  affection  for  him,  nor  desire  to  know  liim. 

f2.)  Their  covetousness  made  them  willing  to  be 
rid  of  him.  Instead  of  inviting  him  into  their  citv,  or 
bringing  their  sick  to  him  to  be  healed,  thev  desired 
him  to  de/iart  out  their  coasts,  as  if  they  had  lior- 
rowed  tlie  words  of  the  de\ils,  ll'liat  have  we  to  do 
with  thee,  Je.iu.i  thou  Son  of  God?  And  now  the 
devils  had  what  thcv  aimed  at  in  drowning  the 
swine  ;  they  did  it,  and  then  made  the  people  be- 
lieve that  Christ  had  done  it,  and  so  prejudiced 
them  against  him.  He  seduced  our  first  parents,  bv 
possessing  them  with  liard  thoughts  of  CJod,  and 
kept  the  Gadarencs  fi-oni  Christ,  bv  suggesting  that 
he  came  into  their  conntrv  to  destroy  their  cattle, 
and  that  he  would  do  more  huit  than  good  ;  for 
though  he  had  cured  two  men,  vet  he  had  drowned 
two  thousand  swine.  Thus  the'  De\  il  sows  tares  in 
God's  field,  does  mischief  in  the  christian  church 
and  then  lays  the  blame  upon  Christianity,  and  in- 
censes men  against  that.  They  besought  him  that 
he  would  depart,  lest,  like  Moses  in  Egypt,  he 
should  proceed  to  some  other  plague.  Notei  There 
are  a  great  many  who  prefer  their  swine  before  thcii- 
Saviour,  and  so  come  short  of  Christ,  and  sahation 
by  Itim.  riie\-  desire  Christ  to  depart  out  of  their 
hearts,  and  will  not  suffer  his  word  to  have  a  place 
m  them,  because  he  and  hisAvord  will  be  the  de- 
struction of  their  brutish  lusts— those  swine  which 
they  give  uj)  themselves  to  feed.  And  justly  will 
Chnst  forsake  those  that  thus  are  weary  of  him 
and  say  to  them  hereafter,  Defiart,  ve  cursed,  who 
now  say  to  the  Almighty,  De/iart  from  us. 

CHAP.  IX. 

",!l,^*n^  '"r^t  i''^Pi%'''  '•ema'-'-aWe  instances  of  the  power 
and  pit)  of  the  Lord  Jesus.sufficienl  lo  convince  us  thithe 
V  OL.  V. — N 


is  both  able  to  save  to  the  uttermost  all  th.il  come  to  fiod 
by  him,  »iiil  a^  wiliiti^'  as  he  is  able.  His  pouir  and  piiv 
ap|if:ir  hiTc  in  Ihe  'jood  olhces  he  did,  I.  To  llie  bodies  of 
people,  in  rorilr,'  Ihi'  pah\  ;  (v.  2.  .  8. )  raisin"  lo  life  the 
ruler's  dau'jhtir,  and  healiii'/  the  bloodv  issue ;  (\.  18.. 
26.)  "ivin;;  sitrhi  lo  li\o  blind  nun  ;  (v.  'i?  .  .  31.)  casting 
the  Devil  out  of  one  possessed ;  (v.  3'-  . .  34. )  iind  healing 
all  manner  of  sicline^s,  v.  35.  II.  To  the  souls  <,r  people  ; 
in  fori;iving  sins :  (v.  2.)  callinii  Matthew,  and  convei>ini; 
freelv  with  puhlieans  and  sinners;  (v.  9.  .  13.)  ronsider- 
inirtherrnme  of  his  disciples,  willi  reference  In  Iheduiv  of 
fasting;  (v.  14.  .  17.)  preachiu'j  the  gospel,  and,  in  coni- 
pa.s.Moii  to  the  inultilu.le,  pK.vidino-  pre:ieliii-  .or  them  ; 
(i.  35..  3S.)  'I'lius  liid  he  |irove  himself  to  be,  as  un- 
dnulitedly  he  is,  the  skilful,  l:iiilifnl  Physician,  l,i,ih  of  sou! 
lirul  body,  who  lias  suHleient  remedies  for  a!)  the  maladies 
of  both  ;  for  uhich  we  must,  therifoie,  appiv  ourselves  to 
him,  and  irlorify  him  botli  with  our  bodies.'and  witli  oui 
spirits,  which  arc  his,  in  return  toliim  for  bis  kindness  lo 
both. 

I.  4  ND  he  entered  into  a  ship,  and  pas- 
-i*-  sed  over,  and  ramc  into  his  own 
city.  2.  And  hcliohl,  IIkt  bioiiglit  to  him 
a  man  sirk  of  the  palsy,' lying  on  a  bed  : 
and  Jesus,  seeing  their  laith,  said  iiiilo  the 
sirk  of  the  palsy,  Son,  be  of  good  clieer ; 
thy  sins  be  forgiven  thee.  3.  And,  behold, 
certain  of  the  Scrilies  said  within  them- 
selves, This  i/ian  blas])hemeth.  4.  And 
.Tesns,  knowing  tiieir  thoughts,  said,^^'here- 
fore  think  ye  fvil  in  your  hearts  .'  5.  For 
whether  is  easier  to  say,  T/ii/  sins  be  for- 
given thee  !  Or  to  say,"  Arise,  and  walk  ? 
0.  ])Ut  that  ye  may  know  that  tiie  Son  of 
man  hath  power  on  earth  to  forgive  sins, 
(then  saith  he  to  the  sick  of  tlie  palsy,) 
Arise,  take  up  thy  bed,  and  go  unto  thine 
house.  7.  And  he  arose,  and  departed  to 
his  house.  S.  But  when  the  multitude  saw 
it,  they  marvelled,  and  g]ci\\(\ei\  God,  ic/iich 
had  given  such  power  unto  men. 

The  first  words  of  this  chapter  oblige  us  to  look 
back  to  the  close  of  that  which  precedes  it,  where 
we  find  the  (Tadarenes  so  resenting  the  Ic  ss  of  their 
sw  ine,  that  they  were  disgusted  with  Christ's  com- 
pany, and  besought  himtode/iart  out  of  their  coasts. 
Now  here  it  follows.  He  entered  into  a  ship,  and 
passed  over.  They  bid  him  begone,  and  he  took 
thetn  at  their  word,  and  we  never  read  that  he  came 
into  their  coasts  again.  Now  here  observe,  1.  His 
justice— that  he  left  them.  Note,  .Christ  will  not 
tan-y  long  where  he  is  not  welcome.  In  righteous 
judgment,  lie  forsakes  those  places  and  jjerstmsthat 
are  weary  of  him,  but  abides  with  those  that  covet 
and  court  his  stay.  If  the  unbeliever  nvi/l  depart 
from  Chr'j&t,  let  him  depart ;  it  is  at  his  peril,  I  Cor. 
7.  15.  2.  His  patience — that  he  did  not  leave  seme 
destroying  judgment  behind  him,  to  punish  them, 
as  they  deserved,  for  their  contempt  and  crntumacy. 
How  easily,  how  justly,  might  he  have  sent  thehi 
after  their  swine,  who  were  already  so  much  under 
the  Devil's  power.  The  provocation,  indeed,  was 
yen-  great ;  but  he  put  it  up,  and  passed  it  by,  and 
without  any  angry  resentments  or  upbraiding?,  he 
entered  into  a  ship,  and  passed  over.  This  was  the 
day  of  liis  patience  ;  he  came  not  to  destrov  men's 
Iwes,  but  to  sa\e  them  ;  not  to  kill,  but  to  cure. 
Spiritual  judgments  agree  more  with  the  constitu- 
tion of  gospel-times ;  yet  some  observ  e,  that  in  those 
bloody  wars  which  the  Romans  made  upon  the  Jews, 
which  began  not  many  years  after  this,  thev  first 
besieged  the  town  of  Gadara,  where  these  Gada- 
renes  dwelt.     Note,  Those  that  drive  Cr rist  from 


j8 


ST.  .MATl'HEW,  IX. 


them,  draw  all  misci'ies  up(m  them.  Wo  unto  us, 
if  God  depart  from  us. 

He  came  into  his  oivn  city,  Cafirmaum,  the  prin- 
cipal phice  of  his  residence  at  present,  (.Nlark  2.  1.) 
and  therefore  called  hix  own  city.  He  had  himself 
testified,  that  a  prophet  is  least  honoured  in  his  own 
country  swAcily,  yet  thither  lie  came  ;  for  he  soui^ht 
not  his  own  honour ;  but,  being  in  a  state  of  humi- 
liation, lie  was  content  to  be  desjjised  of  the  people. 
At  Capernaum  all  the  circumstances  recorded  in  this 
chapter  happened,  and  are,  therefoi-e,  put  together 
here,  thou,^■h,  in  the  harmony  of  the  evangelists, 
other  events  intervened.  When  the  Gadarenes  de- 
sired Clirisl  to  depart,  they  of  Capernaum  received 
him.  If  Christ  be  affronted  by  some,  there  are 
others  in  whom  he  will  be  glorious ;  if  one  will  not, 
another  will. 

Now  tlie  first  occurrence,  after  Christ's  return  to 
Capernaum,  as  recorded  in  these  verses,  was  the 
cure  of  the  man  sick  of  the  palsy.  In  which  we 
may  observe, 

I.  The  faith  of  his  friends  in  bringing  him  to 
Christ.  His  distemper  was  such,  that  he  could  not 
come  to  Cltrist  liimself,  but  as  he  was  carried.  Note, 
Even  the  halt  and  the  lame  may  be  brought  to 
Christ,  and  they  shall  not  be  rejected  bv  him.  If  we 
do  as  well  as  we  can,  he  will  accept  of  us.  Christ 
had  an  eye  to  their  faith.  Little  children  cannot  go 
to  Christ  themselves,  but  he  will  have  an  eye  to  the 
faith  of  those  tliat  bring  them,  and  it  sh.dl  not  be  in 
vain.  Jesus  saw  thfir  failh,  the  faitli  of  the  para-  ' 
lytic  himself,  as  well  as  of  them  tRat  brought  him  ; 
Jesus  saw  the  habit  of  faith,  though  liis  distemper, 
perhaps,  impaired  his  intellect,  and  oljstructed  the 
actings  of  it.  Now  their  faith  was,  1.  A  strong  faith  ; 
they  firmlv  believed  that  Jesus  Christ  both  could 
and  would  heal  him  ;  else  they  \vo\ild  not  have 
brought  the  sick  man  to  him  so  pulilickly,  and 
through  so  much  difficulty.  2.  A  humble  faith  ; 
though  the  sick  man  was  unable  to  stir  a  step,  they 
would  not  ask  Christ  to  make  him  a  visit,  but  brought 
him  to  attend  on  Christ.  It  is  fitter  that  we  should  f 
wait  on  Christ,  than  he  on  us.  3.  An  active  faith  ;  I 
in  the  belief  of  Christ's  power  and  goodness,  they 
brought  tlie  sick  man  to  him,  /yins^  on  a  bed,  which  j 
could  not  be  done  without  a  deal  of  pains.  Note, 
A  strong  faith  regards  no  obstacles  in  pressing  after 
Christ.  ■  _  ! 

II.  The  favour  of  Christ,  in  what  he  said  to  him  ;  j 
Son,  be  of  good  cheer,  thy  sins  he  forgiven  th'c.  This 
was  a  sovereign  cordial  to  a  sick  man,  and  was  i 
enough  to  make  all  his  bed  in  his  sickness  ;  and  to  ! 
make  it  easy  to  him.  W^e  read  not  of  any  thing  said 
to  Christ ;  probably  the  poor  sick  man  could  not 
speak  for  himself,  and  they  that  brought  him  chose 
rather  to  speak  by  actions  than  words  ;,they  set  him 
before  Christ ;  that  was  enough.  Note,  It  is  not  in 
vain  to  present  ourselves  and  our  friends  to  ('hrist, 
as  the  objects  of  his  pity.  Miserv  cries  as  wf'1  as 
sin,  and  mercy  is  no  less  quick  of  hearing  than  ius- 
tice.  Here  is  in  what  Christ  said,  1.  A  Icind  c^m- 
pellation  ;  Son.  Note,  Exhortations  and  consola- 
tions to  the  afflicted  speak  to  them  as  to  sons,  for 
afflictions  are  fatherlv  discipline,  Heb.  12.5.  2.  A 
gracious  encouragement ;  "Be  of  good  cheer.  Have 
a  good  heart  on  it ;  cheer  up  thV  spirits."  Probably 
the  poor  man,  when  let  down  among  them  all  in  his 
bed,  was  put  out  of  countenance,  was  afraid  of  a  re- 
buke for  being  brought  in  so  rndelv:  but  Christ  does 
not  stand  upon  ceremony  ;  he  bids  him  be  of  good 
cheer;  all  would  be  well,  he  should  not  be  laid'  before 
Christ  in  vain.  Christ  bids  him  be  of  good  cheer;  and 
then  cures  him.  He  would  have  tlinse  to  whom  he 
deals  his  gifts,  to  be  cheei'ful  in  seeking  him,  and  in 
trusting  to  him  ;  to  be  of  good  courage.  3.  A  good  rea- 
son for  tliat  encouragement ;  Thy  sins  are  forgiven 
thee.  Now  this  may  be  considered,  (1.)  As  an  intro- 


duction to  the  cure  of  hisbodily  distemper  ;  "  I  h y 
sins  are  juirdoned,  and  therefore  thou  shall  bel.e.il- 
ed. "  Note,  .\s  sin  is  the  cause  of  sickness,  so  the 
remission  of  sin  is  llie  comfort  of  recover)'  from  sick- 
ness ;  n'lt  lint  that  sin  may  be  pardoned,  and  yet  the 
sickness  not  remo\ed  ;  not  but  that  the  sickness  may 
be  removed,  and  yet  the  sin  not  pardoned  :  but  if  we 
have  the  comfort  of  our  reconciliation  to  God,  with 
the  comfort  of  our  recovery  from  sickness,  this  makes 
it  a  mercy  indeed  to  us,  as  to  Hezekiah,  Isa.  38.  17.. 
Or,  (2. )  As  a  reason  of  the  command  to  be  of  good 
cheer,  whether  he  were  cured  of  his  disease  or  not ; 
"  Though  I  should  not  heal  thee,  wilt  thou  not  say, 
thou  hast  not  sought  in  vain,  if  I  assure  thee  that  tiry 
sins  are  /tardoned ;  and  wilt  thou  not  look  ujjon  that 
as  a  sufficient  ground  of  comfort,  though  thou 
shouldest  continue  sick  of  the  palsy  ?"  Note,  Theyl 
who,  througli  grace,  have  some  evidence  of  the  for-\ 
giveness  of  their  sins,  have  reason  to  be  of  good  1 
cheer,  whate\er  outward  troubles  or  afflictions theyj 
are  under;  see  Isa.  33.  24.  

III.  The  cavil  of  the  Scribes  at  that  which  Chirs) 
!  said  ;  (t.  3.)  T\\cv  said  within  themselves,  in  theii 

i  hearts,  among  themselves,  in  their  secret  whisper- 
ings, This  man  blas/ihemeth.     See  how  the  greatest 

!  instance  of  heaven's  power  and  grace  is  tjranded 
with  the  blackest  note  of  hell's  enmity  ;  Christ's 
pardoning  sin  is  termed  blasphemy  ;  nor  had  it  been 
less,  if  he  had  not  had  commission  from  God  for  it. 
They,  therefore,  are  guiltv  of  blasphemy,  that  ha^-e 
no  such  commission,  and  vet  pretend  to  pardon  sin. 

IV.  The  conviction  which  Christ  gave  them  of 
the  unreasonableness  of  this  cavil,  before  he  pro- 
ceeded. 

1.  He  charged  them  with  it.  Though  they  did  but 
say  it  within  themselves,  he  knew  their  thoughts. 
Note,  Our  Lord  Jesus  has  the  perfect  knowledge  of 
all  that  we  sav  within  ourselves.  Thoughts  are  se- 
cret and  sudden,  yet  naked  and  open  before  Christ, 
the  etemal  \\'ord,  (Heb.  4.  12,  13.)  and  he  under- 
stands them  afar  off,  Ps.  139.  2.  He  could  say  to 
them,  (which  no  mere  man  could,)  Wherefore  think  . 
ye  evil  in  your  hearts  ?  Note,  there  is  a  great  deal 
of  evil  in  sinful  thoughts,  which  is  very  offensive  to 
the  Lord  Jesus.  He  being  the  So\ereign  of  the 
heart,  sinful  thoughts  invade  his  right,  and  disturb 
his  possession  ;  therefore  he  takes  notice  of  them, 
.and  is  much  displeased  with  them.  In  them  lies  the 
root  of  bitterness.  Gen.  6.  5.  The  sins  that  begin 
and  end  m  the  heart,  and  go  no  further,  are  as  dan- 
gerous as  any  other. 

2.  He  argued  them  out  of  it,  v.  5,  6.  Where 
observe,  "  ■ 

(1.)  How  he  asserts  his  authority  in  the  kingdom 
of  grace.  He  undertakes  to  make  out,  that  the  Son 
of  man,  the  Mediator,  has  power  on  earth  to  for- 
give sins  ;  for  therefore  the  Father  has  committed 
all  /ttdgmenl  to  the  Son,  and  has  given  him  this  au- 
tliority,  because  he  is  the  Son  of  man,  John  5.  22,  27. 
If  he  has  flower  to  gwe  etemal  life,  as  he  certainly 
has,  (John  17.  2.)  he  must  have  power  to  for^ve 
sin  ;  for  guilt  is  a  bar  that  must  be  removed,  or  we 
can  never  get  to  heaven.  What  an  encouragement 
is  this  to  poor  sinners  to  repent,  that  the  power  of 
pardoning  sin  is  put  into  the  hands  of  the  Son  of 
man,  who  is  Bone  of  our  bone  !  And  if  he  had  this 
power  on  earth,  much  more  now  that  he  is  exalted 
to  the  Father's  right  hand,  to  give  repentance  and 
remission  of  sins,  and  so  to  be  both  a  Prince  and  a 
Sax'iour,  Acts  5.  31. 

(2.)  How  he  proves  it,  by  his  power  in  the  king 
dom  of  nature  ;  his  power  to  cure  diseases.  Is  it 
not  as  easy  to  sav,  Thti  sins  are  forgiven  thee,  as  to 
say,  .4ri.ieand  walk  ?  He  that  can  cure  the  disease, 
whether  declarativelu  as  a  Prophet,  or  authorita- 
tively as  God,  can,  in  like  manner,  forgi\e  the  sin. 
Now,  [1.]  This  is  a  general  argument  to  prove  th.at 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IX. 


09 


(Jhiist  had  a  divine  mission.  His  niiracks,  cspcci- 
aWy  liis  iiuraculoub  cures,  contii'm  what  he  said  ot 
hiii\sclf,  tliat  hi-  was  tlic  Son  of  God;  the /wwi  r 
that  apiJCMivd  ill  liis  cuix-s  provi-d  liim  nciilofdod; 
and  the /((Cr/ tliat  apiJi-arcd  iii  tin-in  piovc-d  luiiisi-nt 
of  (r(Kl,  l(j  heat  unit  save.  Tlic  (Jod  ni  tnitli  would 
not  set  his  seal  to  a  lie.  [2.  ]  It  had  a  ])articiilai- 
cogencv  in  tliis  case.  The  [lalsy  was  but  a  syiiii)- 
tom  ft'  the  disease  of  sin  ;  now  he  made  it  to  ap- 
pear, that  he  could  effectually  euro  the  orii^inid  dis- 
c:ise,  t>y  the  iiiiiiiediate  removal  of  that  sv  niptoin  ; 
so  close  a  coiinexion  w.is  there  Ix'tweeii  the  sin  and 
the  sickness.  He  that  had  power  to  remove  thepu- 
nishmeat,  no  doulit,  had  power  to  remit  sin.  '1  he 
Scribes  stood  iniirh  upon  a  lei;al  righteousness,  and 
placed  their  confidence  in  that,  and  made  no  f;reat 
matter  if  tlie  furgivcrifsg  of  niiix,  the  doctrine  ujjon 
which  Christ  hereby  desijjncd  to  jiut  honour,  and  to 
show  that  liis  great  errand  to  the  world  was,  to  save 
/lis  /iro/itf  frrjm  t/irir  sins. 

V.  The  imniediatc  cure  of  the  sick  man.  Christ 
turned  from  disjiuting  with  them,  and  sjiake  healinj; 
to  him.  Tl\e  most  ncce.ssary  arj^uinj^s  must  not  di- 
\crt  us  fi-oni  doin.;  the  good  that  our  /land  finds  to 
do.  He  s.iith  to  r/ir  sict  of  tlic  palsy,  .'/rise,  tal:e  ii/i 
t/iy  bed,  and  ^o  to  t/iine  /lou-ie ;  and  a  healing,  quick- 
ening, strengthening  power  accompanied  this  word; 
(v.  7.)  /le  arose  and  delmrted  to  /lis  /louse.  Now,  1. 
Christ  bid  him  lak-e  u/i  /lis  tied,  to  show  that  he  was 
perfectly  cured,  and  that  not  only  he  had  no  more 
occa.si<m  to  be  carried  upon  his  bed,  but  that  he  had 
strength  to  carry  it.  2.  He  sent  him  to  /lis  /loiise,  to 
be  a  blessing  to  his  famil)-,  where  he  had  been  so 
long  a  burden  ;  and  did  not  take  him  along  with  him 
for  a  show,  which  those  would  do  in  such  a  case, 
who  seek  tlic  honour  tliat  comes  from  men. 

VI.  The  impression  which  this  made  upon  the 
multitude,  (r.  S. )  they  inaii'elled  und  fflorlfied  God. 
Note,  All  our  wonder  should  help  to  enlarge  our 
hearts  in  glorifying  God,  who  alone  docs  marvellous 
things.  They  glorified  God  for  what  he  had  done 
for  this  poor  man.  Note,  Others'  mercies  should  be 
our  pi-.iises,  and  we  should  give  him  thanks  for  them, 
for  we  are  members  one  of  another.  Though  few 
of  this  multitude  were  so  convinced,  as  to  be  brought 
to  believe  in  Christ,  and  to  follow  him,  vet  thev  ad- 
mirc'.l  him,  not  as  Ciod,  or  the  Son  of  Ciod,  but  as  a 
7nan  to  wh  mi  God  /lad  gi-een  suc/i  fiower.  Note, 
God  must  be  glorified  in  all  the  power  that  \^  given 
to  nvn  to  d  1  good.  For  all  power  is  originally  his  ; 
it  is  in  him,  as  the  Fountain,  in  men,  as  the  cisterns. 

9.  And  as.lcsus  passod  forth  from  tlipiice, 
ho  saw  a  man,  named  Matthew,  sitting  at 
tlio  rcrcipt  of  cnstoni :  and  he  saith  inito 
liim,  Follow  nio.  And  he  arose,  and  fol- 
lowed him.  10.  And  it  rame  to  pass,  as 
Jesus  sat  at  meat  in  the  house,  behold, 
many  pulilirans  and  sinners  rame  and  sat 
down  witli  iiim  and  his  disciples.  1 1.  And 
when  the  Pharisees  saw  ;Y,  tliey  said  unto 
his  disciples,  \Miy  eateth  your  .N  laster  with 
publicans  and  sinners  !  12.  But  when  .Te- 
stis,heard  that,  he  said  unto  them.  They 
that  be  whole  need  not  a  phj'sician,  but 
they  that  are  sick.  1.1.  But  go  ye  and 
learn  what  that  meaneth,  I  will  have  mer- 
cy, and  not  sacrifice :  for  I  am  not  come 
to  call  the  righteous,  but  sinners  to  repent- 
ance. 

In  these  verses  w-e  have  an  account  of  the  grace 
and  favour  of  Christ  to  poor  publicans,  particularly 


to  Matthew.  What  he  did  to  the  bodies  of  ])eoplo 
w  as  to  make  way  for  a  kind  design  he  had  upon  their 
souls.     Now  observe  here, 

1.  The  call  of  Matthew,  the  ])enman  of  this  gos- 
pel. Mark  and  Luke  c;dl  him  Levi  ;  it  was  ordinary 
for  the  same  ]iersons  to  have  two  names  :  ]ierha])S 
Matthew  was  the  name  he  was  most  known  by  as  a 
iniblican,  and,  tlierefore,  in  his  liumility,  he  calkd 
himself  by  that  name,  rather  than  by  the  more  ho 
niiurable  name  of  Le\  i.  Some  think  Christ  gavi 
him  the  name  of  Matthew  when  he  called  him  to 
be  an  ,\postle  ;  as  Simon,  he  suniamcd  Peter.  Mat- 
thew signifies,  t/ie  gift  of  Cod.  Ministers  are  ( lod's 
gifts  to  the  church  ;  their  niinisti) ,  and  their  ability 
/or  it,  are  (lod's  gifts  to  them.     Now  observe, 

1.  The  iiosture  that  Christ's  call  found  Matthew 
in.  He  was  sitting  at  ttie  recei/it  of  custom,  for  he 
was  a  ])ublican,  Luke  5.  2".  He  was  a  custom-house 
officer  at  the  port  of  C.ajiernaum,  or  an  exciseman, 
or  collector  ot  the  land-tax.  Now,  (1.)  He  was  in 
his  calling,  as  the  rest  of  them  whom  Christ  called, 
c/i.  4.  IK.  Note,  ."Vs  Satan  chooses  to  come,  with  his 
temptations,  to  those  that  are  idle,  so  Christ  chooses 
to  come,  with  his  calls,  to  those  that  are  employed. 
But,  (2.)  It  was  a  calling  of  ill  fame  among  serious 
peojile  ;  because  it  was  attended  with  so  much  cor- 
ruption and  tem])tation,  and  there  were  so  few  in 
that  business  that  were  honest  men.  Matthew  him- 
self owns  wliat  he  was  before  his  conversion,  as  does 
St.  Paul,  (1  Tim.  1.  13.)  that  the  grace  of  Christ  in 
calling  him  might  be  the  more  magnified,  and  to 
show,  that  Ciod  has  his  remnant  among  all  sorts  ot 
peo])le.  None  can  justify  themselves  in  their  unbe- 
lief, bv  their  calling  in  the  world  ;  for  there  is  no 
.vm/;// calling,  but  some  have  been  saved  o!^;  of  it, 
and  no  laiiful  calling,  but  some  have  been  saved  in 
it. 

2.  The  jjreventing  power  of  this  call.  W'e  find 
not  that  Alatthew  looked  after  Christ,  or  had  any  in- 
clination to  follow  him,  though  some  of  his  kindred 
were  already  disciples  of  Christ,  but  Christ  jjrevent- 
ed  him  with  the  blessings  of  his  goodness.  He  is  found 
of  those  that  seek  him  not.  Christ  s/iolre  Jirst ;  we 
have  not  chosen  him,  but  he  hath  chosen  us.  He  said, 
Follow  me ;  and  the  same  divine,  almighty  power 
accompanied  this  word  to  convert  Matthew,  which 
attended  that  word,  (i'.  6. )  y/rise  and  ifal/,-,  to  cure 
the  man  sick  of  the  palsy.  Note,  A  saving  ch.inge 
is  wrouglit  in  the  soul  by  Christ  as  the  ^ut/ior,  and 
hi,s  word  as  the  means.  His  gospel  is  the  power  of 
God  unto  salvation,  Rom.  1.  Ifi.  The  call  was  cf- 
fectu.al,  for  he  came  at  the  call ;  /le  arose,  and  fol- 
lowed him  immediately;  neilher  denied,  nor  deferred 
his  obedience.  The  power  of  divine  grace  soon  an- 
swers and  overcomes  all  objections.  Neither  his 
commission  for  his  place,  nor  his  gains  by  it,  could 
detain  him,  when  Christ  called  him.  He  conferred 
not  wit/i  fies/i  and  blood.  Gal.  1.  15,  16.  He  quitted 
his  post,  and  his  hopes  of  preferment  in  that  way  ; 
and  though  we  find  the  disciples  that  were  fishers 
occasionally  fishing  again  afterwards,  we  never  find 
Matthew  at  the  receipt  of  custom  again. 

n.  Christ's  converse  with  publicans  and  sinners 
ujion  this  occasion  ;  Christ  called  Matthew,  to  in- 
troduce himself  into  an  acquaintance  with  the  peo- 
ple of  that  profession.  Jesns.sat  at  meat  in  l/ie  /louse, 
V.  10.  The  other  evangelists  tell  us,  that  Matthew 
made  a.  great  feast,  which  the  poor  fishermen,  when 
they  were  called,  were  not  able  to  do.  But  when  he 
comes  to  speak  of  this  himself,  he  neither  tells  us 
that  it  was  his  own  house,  nor  that  it  was  a  feast,  but 
only  that  he  sat  at  meat  in  t/ie  /louse ;  presen'ing  the 
remembrance  of  Christ's  favour  to  the  publicans, 
rather  than  of  the  respect  he  had  paid  to  Christ. 
Note,  It  well  becomes  us  to  speak  sparingly  of  our 
own  good  deeds. 

Now  observe,  1.  WTien  Matthew  invited  Christ, 


100 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IX. 


he  invited  his  disciples  to  come  along  ivith  /lim. 
Note,  They  that  welcome  Christ,  must  welcome  all 
that  are  his,  for  his  sake,  and  let  them  have  a  room 
in  their  hearts.  2.  He  invited  many  puljlicans  and 
sinners  to  meet  him.  This  was  the  chief  thing  Mat- 
thew aimed  at  in  this  treat,  that  he  might  have  an  op- 
portunity of  bringing  his  old  associates  acquainted 
with  Christ.  He  knew  b)'  experience,  what  tlieir 
temptations  were,  and  pitied  tliem  ;  knew  by  expe- 
rience what  the  grace  of  C'hrist  could  do,  and  would 
not  despair  concerning  them.  Note,  They  who  are 
;  effectually  brought  to  Christ  themselves,  cannot  but 
be  desirous,  that  others  also  may  be  brought  to  him, 
and  ambitious.of  contributing  something  towards  it. 
Tiiie  grace  will  not  contentedly  eat  its  morsels  alone, 
but  will  invite  others.  When  by  the  conversion  of 
Matthew  the  fraternity  was  broken,  presently  his 
house  was  filled  with  publicans,  and  surely  some  of 
them  will  follow  him,  as  he  folloived  Christ.  Thus 
did  Andrew  and  Philip,  John  1.  41,  45. — i.  ^9.  See 
Judges  14.  9. 

HI.  The  displeasure  of  the  Pharisees  at  this,  xk 
11.     They  cavilled  at  it;  why  eateth  your  Master 
with  fiublicans  and  sinners  ?  Here  observe,  1.  That 
Christ  was  quarrelled  with.     It  was  not  the  least  of 
his  sufferings,  that  he  endured  the  contradiction  of 
sinne-rs  a'^ainst  himself.     None  was  more  quarrelled 
witli  by  men,  than  he  that  came  to  take  up  the  great 
quarrel  between  God  and  man.     Thus  he  denied 
himself  the  honour  due  to  an  incarnate  Deity,  which 
was  to  be  justified  in  what  he  spake,  and  to  have  all 
he  said  readily  subscribed  to  ;  for  though  he  never 
spoke  or  did  any  thing  amiss,  eveiT  thing  he  said 
and  did  was  found  fault  with.     Thus  he  taught  us  to 
expect  and  prepare  for  reproach,  and  so  bear  it  pa- 
tieiitly.    2.  They  that  quarrelled  with  hini  were  the 
I'h.irisees  ;  a  proud  generation  of  men,  conceited  of 
themselves,  and  censorious  of  others ;  of  the  same 
temper  with  those  in  the  prophet's  time,  who  said. 
Stand  by  thyself,  come  not  near  me ;  J  am  holier  than 
thou:  they  were  veiy  strict  in  avoiding  s^uipr*,  but 
not  in  avoiding  sin ;  none  gi-eatcr  zealots  than  they, 
for  the  form  of  godliness,  nor  greater  enemies  to 
the  power  of  it     They  wei'e  for  keeping  up  the  tra- 
ditions of  the  elders  to  a  nicety,  and  so  pi  opagating 
the  same  spirit  that  they  were  themselves  go\enied 
by.    3.  They  brought  their  cavil,  not  to  Christ  him- 
self;  they  had  not  the  courage  to  face  him  with  it, 
but  to  his  disciples.     The  disciples  were  in  the  same 
companv,  but  the  quaiTel  is  with  the  master  ;  for 
they  would  not  ha\e  done  it,  if  he  had  not  ;  and  they 
thought  it  worse  in  him  wlio  was  a  prophet,  than  in 
them  ;  his  dignity,  they  thought,  should  set  him  at  a 
greater  distance  from  such  company  than  others. 
Being  offended  at  the  master,  they  quarrel  with  the 
disciples.     Note,  It  concerns  christians  to  be  able  to 
vindicate  and  justify  Christ,  and  his  doctrines  and 
laws,  and  to  be  ready  ahvays  to  give  an  answer  to 
those  that  asl:  them  a  reason  of  the  ho/ie  that  is  in 
them,  1  Pet.  3.  15.     While  he  is  an  advocate  for  us 
in  heaven,  let  us  be  advocates  for  him  on  earth,  and 
make  his  reproach  our  own.    4.  The  complaint  was 
•his  eating  with  publicans  and  sinners :  to  be  intimate 
with  wicked  people  is  against  the  law  of  God  ;  (Ps. 
119.  115. — 1.  1.)  and  perhaps  by  accusing  Christ  of 
this  to  his  disciples,  they  hoped  to  tempt  them  from 
him,  to  put  them  out  of  conceit  with  him,  and  so  to 
bring  them  over  to  themselves  to  be  their  disciples, 
who  kept  better  company  ;  for  they  com/tassed  sea 
and  land  to  make  firoselytes.     To  be  intimate  with 
publicans,  was  against  the  tradition  of  the  elders,  and, 
therefore,  they  looked  upon  it  as  a  heinous  thing. 
They  were  angry  with  Christ  for  this,  (1.)  Because 
they  wished  ill  to  him,  and  sought  occasion  to  misre- 
present him.     Note,  It  is  an  easy  and  very  common 
thing  to  put  the  worst  constructions  upon  the  best 
words  and  act-ons.    (2.)  Because  they  wished  no 


good  to  publicans  and  sinners,  but  envied  Christ's 
favour  to  them,  and  were  grie\  ed  to  see  them  brought 
to  repentance.  Note,  It  may  justly  be  suspected, 
that  they  have  not  the  grace  of  God  themselves,  who 
grudge  others  a  share  in  that  grace,  who  are  not 
pleased  with  it. 

IV.  The  defence  that  Christ  made  for  himself 
and  his  disciples,  in  justification  ( f  tlieir  converse 
with  publicans  and  sinners.  The  disciijles,  it  should 
seem,  being  yet  weak,  were  to  seek  for  an  answerto 
the  Pharisees'  cavil,  and,  therefore,  bring  it  to 
Christ,  and  he  heard  it.  {v.  12.)  or  perhaps  over- 
heard them  whispering  it  to  his  disci])les.  Let  him 
alone  to  vindicate  himself  and  to  ple;'.d  his  own 
cause,  to  answer  for  himself  and  for  us  too.  Two 
things  he  urges  in  his  defence. 

1.  I'he  necessity  and  exigence  of  the  case  of  the 
publicans,  which  called  aloud  for  his  help,  and  there- 
fore justified  him  in  conversing  with  them  for  their 
good.  It  was  the  extreme  necessity  of  poor,  lost 
sinners,  that  brought  Christ  from  the  pure  regions 
above,  to  these  impure  ones  ;  and  the  same  was  it, 
that  brought  him  into  this  company  which  was 
thought  impure.     Now, 

(1.)  He  jn-oxes  the  necessity  of  the  case  of  the 
publicans  :  they  that  be  whole  need  7iot  a  physician, 
put  they  that  are  sick.  The  publicans  are  sick,  and 
they  need  one  to  help  and  heal  them,  which  the 
Pharisees  think  they  do  not.     Note, 

[1.]  Sin  is  the  sickness  of  the  soul;  sinners  are 
spiritually  sick.  Original  corruptii  ns  are  the  dis- 
eases of  the  soul,  actual  transgressions  are  its  wounds, 
or  the  eruptions  of  the  disease.  It  is  deforming, 
weakening,  disquieting,  wasting,  killing,  but,  blessed 
be  God,  not  incurable.  [2.]  Jesus  Christ  is  the  great 
Physician  of  souls  His  curing  of  bodily  diseases 
signified  this,  that  he  arose  with  healing  binder  his 
wings.  He  is  a  skilful,  faithful,  com])assionate  Phy- 
sician, and  it  is  his  office  and  Ijusiness  to  heal  the 
sick.  Wise  and  good  men  should  be  as  physicians 
to  all  about  them  ;  Christ  was  so.  Hunc  affectum, 
versus  onmes  habet  sa/uens,  quern  versus  xgros  stios 
medicus — A  wise  man  cherishes  towards  all  around 
him,  the  feelings  of  a  physician  for  his  patient.  Se- 
neca de  Const.  [3.]  Sin-sick  souls  have  need  of  this 
Physician,  for  their  disease  is  dangerous ;  nature  will 
not  help  itself ;  no  man  can  help  us  ;  such  need  have 
we  of  Christ,  that  we  are  undone,  etenially  undone, 
without  him.  Sensible  sinners  see  their  need,  and 
apply  themselves  to  him  accordingly.  [4.]  There 
are  multitudes  \iho  fancy  themselves  to  be  sound 
and  whole,  who  think  they  have  no  need  of  Christ, 
but  that  they  can  shift  for  themselves  well  enough 
without  him,  as  Laodicea,  Rev.  3.  17.  Thus  the 
Pharisees  desired  not  the  knowledge  of  Christ's 
word  and  ways,  not  because  the\'  had  no  need  of 
him,  but  because  they  thought  they  had  none.  See 
John  9.   40,  41. 

(2.)  He  proves,  that  their  necessity  did  sufficiently 
justify  his  conduct,  in  conversing  familiarly  with 
them,  and  that  he  ought  not  to  he  blamed  for  it ;  for 
that  necessity  made  it  an  act  of  charity,  which  ought 
alwavs  to  be  preferred  before  the  formalities  of  a 
religious  profession,  in  which  heveficenze  and  muni- 
ficence are  far  better  than  magni^cence,  as  much  as 
substance  is,  than  shows  or  shadows.  Those  duties, 
which  are  of  moral  and  natural  obligation,  are  to 
take  place  even  of  those  di\ine  laws,  which  are  po- 
sitive and  ritual,  much  more  of  those  impositions  of 
men,  and  traditions  of  the  elders,  which  make  God's 
law  stricter  than  he  has  made  it.  This  he  proves, 
(t.  3. )  by  a  passage  quoted  out  of  Hos.  6.  6.  /  nvill 
have  mercy  and  not  sacrifice.  That  morose  separa- 
tion from  the  society  of  publicans,  which  the  Pha- 
risees enjoined,  was  less  than  sacrifice ;  but  Christ's 
conversing  with  them  was  more  than  an  act  of  com- 
mon mercy,  and  therefore  to  be  prefen'ed  before  it 


ST.  MATTHEW ,  IX. 


101 


II  to  Jo  well  ourselves  is  better  tli;m  siiciifice,  as 
Samvicl  slunvs,  (1  Sum.  15.  22,  23.)  much  m< ire  to  do 
•  good  to  others.  Christ's  conversiui;  with  sinners  is 
here  Cidled  mercv  :  to  promote  the  conversion  (if 
souls  is  the  greatest  act  of  mercv  imaginable  ;  it  is 
suviiis^a  m id  from  drcil/i,  Jam.  5.  20.  Oljserve  how 
Christ  cjuotes  this,  do  i/e  uml  learn  '.i'/uil  Ihi^t  mrati- 
Ifl/i.  Note,  It  is  not  enough  to  be  acciuaintcd  with 
ithe  letter  of  scripture,  l)ut  we  must  learn  to  under- 
I  stand  the  meaning  of  it.  .\nd  they  hive  best  learned 
the  meaning  of  the  scrii)tures,  that  have  learned  how 
I  to  applv  tliem  as  a  reproof  to  their  own  faults,  and 
a  rule  for  their  own  practice.  This  scripture  which 
Clirist  qu.ited,  served  not  only  to  vindicate  him,  1)ut, 
[1.]  'I'o  sliow  wherein  true  religion  consists  ;  not  in 
external  observances;  not  in  mears  and  drinlrx  nm] 
shows  of  sanctity  ;  not  in  little  particular  ojiinions  and 
doubtful  disputations,  but  in  doing  all  tlie  good  we 
can  to  tlie  bodies  and  souls  of  others;  in  rigliteousness 
and  peace  ;  in  vi.v/in^  Ihefatlicrlean  and  iridowfi.  [2.  ] 
To  condemn  the  PharisaR-al  liypocrisy  of  tliose  who 
place  religion  in  rituals,  more  than  in  morals,  c/i.  23. 
23.  They  espouse  those  forms  of  godliness  which 
may  lie  made  consistent  with,and  perhaps  subservient 
to,  their  pride,  covctousness,  ambition,  and  malice, 
while  thev  hate  that  power  of  it  which  is  mortify- 
ing to  those  lusts. 

2.  Ho  urges  the  nature  and  end  of  his  own  com- 
mission. He  must  keep  to  his  orders,  and  prosecute 
that  for  wliich  he  was  appointed  to  be  the  great 
Teacher  ;  now,  says  he,  "I am  not  come  to  cat!  the 
righteous,  but  sinners  to  refientance,  and  therefore 
niust  convci-se  with  publicans."  Observe,  (1.)  What 
his  errand  was  ;  it  was  to  call  to  re/tentance.  This 
was  his  first  text,  {eh.  4.  17.)  and  it  was  the  tenden- 
cy of  all  his  sermons.  Note,  The  gospel-call  is  a 
call  to  repentance  ;  a  call  to  us  to  change  our  mind 
and  to  cliangeour  wav.  (2.)  With  whom  his  errand 
lav  ;  not  witli  the  righteous,  but  with  sinners.  That 
is,  [1.]  If  the  children  of  men  had  not  been  sinners, 
there  had  been  no  occasion  for  Christ's  coming 
\mong  them.  He  is  the  Saviour,  not  of  man  as  mo?;, 
but  of  man  as  fallen.  Had  the  first  Adam  continued 
in  his  onginai  riichteotisnesn,  we  had  not  needed  a 
second  .\dam.  [2.]  Therefore  h\s  greatest  business 
Hes  with  tlie  greatest  sinners  ;  the  more  dangerous 
the  sick  m  ui'scase  is,  tlie  more  occasion  there  is  for 
the  physician's  help.  Christ  came  into  the  world 
lo  save  sinners,  hilt  e&pec'mWy  the  chief ;  (iTim.  1. 
15.)  to  call  not  those  so  much,  who,  though  sinnei-s, 
are  comparatively  righteous,  but  the  worst  of  sin- 
ners. [3.]  The  more  sensible  any  sinners  are  of 
their  sinfulness,  the  more  welcome  will  Christ  and 
his  gospel  be  to  them  ;  and  every  one  chooses  to  go 
where  his  company  is  desired,  not  to  those  who 
would  rather  have  his  room.  Christ  came  not  with 
an  expectation  of  succeeding  among  the  righteous, 
those  who  conceit  themselves  so,  and  therefore  will 
sooner  be  sick  of  their  Sanour,  than  sick  of  their 
sin.s,  but  among  the  convinced,  humble  sinners;  to 
them  Christ  will  come,  for  to  them  he  will  be  wel- 
come. 

H.  Then  rame  to  him  the  disciples  of 
Jolin,  sayiiiK,  Why  do  we  and  tiie  Phari- 
sees fast  often,  but  thy  disciples  fast  not  ? 
15.  And  .Tosns  said  unto  them.  Can  the 
children  of  the  iMide-chaniber  monrn,  as 
long  as  f!ie  hride2:room  is  witli  them  ?  Btit 
the  days  w ill  come,  when  the  hride»room 
shall  he  taken  from  them,  and  then  shall 
ihey  fast.  16.  Xo  man  piitteth  a  piece  of 
new  cloth  imto  an  old  garment :  for  that 
which  is  put  in  to  fill  it  np,  taketh  from  the 


ymiu'nl,  and  the  rent  is  made  worse.  17. 
.Siilhcr  do  men  put  new  u  iue  into  old  hot- 
tics;  else  I  he  hollies  hieak,  and  tiiewine 
nnmetli  out,  and  the  iiolllis  perish:  Init 
they  put  new  wine  into  new  bottles,  and 
botli  are  preserved. 

The  objections  which  were  made  agiiinst  Christ 
and  his  disciples,  ga\  e  occasion  to  some  of  the  most 
profitable  ot  his  discourses  ;  thus  are  the  interests 
of  truth  often  served,  e\  en  by  the  opposition  it  uieets 
with  from  gainsa\crs,  and  thus  the  wisdom  ot  Christ 
brings  good  out  of  evil.  This  is  the  third  instance 
of  it  in  this  chapter  ;  his  discourse  of  his  power  to 
forgive  sin,  and  his  readiness  to  receive  sinners,  was 
occasioned  by  the  cavils  of  Scrilies  and  Pharisees  ; 
so  here,  froni  a  reflection  upon  the  coiuluct  of  his 
family,  arose  a  discourse  concerning  a  tendemess 
for  it.'     Observe, 

I.  The  objection  which  the  disciples  of  John  made 
against  Christ's  disciples,  for  not  fasting  so  often  as 
they  did;  which  they  are  charged  with,  as  another 
instance  of  the  looseness  of  their  profession,  besides 
that  of  eating  with  jniblicans  and  sinners  ;  ;uid  it  is 
therefore  suggested  to  them,  that  they  should 
change  that  ])rofession  for  another  more  strict  It 
appears  by  the  other  evangelists,  (Mark  2.  18.  and 
Luke  5.  '33.)  that  the  disciples  of  the  Pharisees 
joined  with  them,  and  we  have  reason  to  suspect 
that  they  instigated  them,  making  use  of  John's  dis- 
cijiles  as  their  spokesmen,  because  they,  being  more 
in  favour  with  Christ  and  his  disci])lcs,  could  do  it 
more  plausibly.  Note,  It  is  no  new  thing  for  bad 
men  to  set  good  men  together  by  the  ears  :  if  the 
people  of  Cod  differ  in  their  sentiments,  designing 
men  will  take  that  occasion  to  sow  discord,  and  to 
incense  them  one  against  another,  and  alienate  them 
[  one  from  another,  and  so  make  an  easy  prey  of  them. 
!  If  the  disciples  of  John  and  of  Jesus  clash,  we  have 
reason  to  suspect  the  Pharisees  ha\e  been  at  work 
underhand  blowing  the  coals.  Now  the  complaint 
is.  Why  do  ire  and  the  Pharisees  fust  often,  hut  thy 
disci/de's  fast  not  ?  It  is  pity  the'duties  of  religion, 
which  ought  to  be  the  confirmations  of  holy  love, 
i  should  be  made  the  occasion  of  strife  and  conten- 
I  tion  ;  but  they  often  are  so,  as  here  ;  where  we  may 
I  observe, 

I  1..  How  they  boasted  of  their  own  fasting.  We 
and  the  Pharisees  fast  often.  Fasting  has  in  all  ages 
of  the  church  been  consecrated,  upon  special  occa- 
I  sions,  to  the  service  of  religion  ;  the  Pharisees  were 
'  much  in  it ;  many  of  them  kept  two  fast-days  in  a 
week,  and  yet  the  generalit\'  of  them  were  hypo- 
crites and  bad  men.  Note,  "False  and  formal  i)ro- 
fessors  often  excel  others  in  outward  acts  of  devo- 
tion, and  even  of  mortification.  The  disciples  of 
.  John  fasted  ofteii,  partly  in  compliance  with  their 
i  master's  practice,  for  he  came  7ieither  eating  nor 
drinking;  {ch.  11.  18.)  and  peo])le  are  ajit  to 
imitate  their  leaders,  though  not  ahvavs  fnmi  the 
same  inward  principle  ;  partly  in  compliance  with 
their  master's  doctrine  of  repentance.  Note,  The 
severer  part  of  religion  is  often  most  minded  by 
those  that  are  yet  under  the  discipline  of  the  spirit, 
as  a  s/iirit  of  bondage,  whereas  though  these  are 
good  in  their  place,  we  must  pass  through  them  to 
that  life  of  delight  in  God  and  dependence  on  him, 
to  which  these  should  lead.  Now  they  come  to 
Christ  to  tell  him  that  they  fasted  often,  at  least  they 
thought  it  often.  Note,  Most  men  irill  proclaim 
erery  one  his  own  goodness,  Prov.  20.  6.  There  is 
a  proneness  in  professors  to  brag  of  their  own  per- 
formances in  religion,  especially  if  there  be  any  thing 
extraordinary  in  them  ;  nay,  and  not  onlv  to  boast 
of  them  before  men,  but  to  plead  them  before  God, 
and  confide  in  them  as  a  righteousness. 


102 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IX. 


2.  How  they  blamed  Christ's  disciples  for  not 
fasting  so  often  as  they  did.  Thy  discijilcs  fust  not. 
They  could  not  but  know,  that  Christ  liad  insti-ucted 
his  disciples  to  keep  their  fasts  private,  and  to  man- 
age themselves  so  as  tliat  they  might  not  afifiear 
unto  men  to  fast  ;  and,  therefore,  it  was  very  un- 
charitable in  them  to  conclude  they  did  not  fast,  be- 
cause tliev  did  not  proclaim  their  fasts.  Note,  W'c 
must  not  judge  of  people's  religion,  Ijy  that  which 
falls  under  the  eye  and  observation  of  the  world. 
But  suppose  it  was  so,  that  Christ's  disciples  did  not 
fast  so  often  or  so  long  as- they  did,  why  truly  they 
"would  therefore  have  it  thought,  that  they  had  more 
religion  in  them  than  Christ's  disciples  had.  Note, 
It  is  common  for  vain  professors  to  make  themselves 
a  standard  in  religion,  by  whicli  to  try  and  measure 
persons  and  things,  as  if  all  who  differed  from  them 
were  so  far  in  the  wrong  ;  as  if  all  that  did  less  than 
they,  did  too  little,  and  all  that  did  more  than  they, 
did  too  much  ;  which  is  a  plain  evidence  of  their 
want  of  humility  and  charity. 

3.  How  they  lirought  .this  complaint  to  Christ. 
Note,  If  Christ's  disciples,  either  by  omission  orcom- 
mission,  give  offence,  Christ  himself  will  be  sure  to 
hear  of  it,  and  be  reflected  upon  for  it.  O  Jesus,  are 
these  t III)  chriitiuns  ?  Therefore,  as  we  tender  the 
honour  of  Christ,  we  are  concerned  to  conduct  our- 
selves well.  Observe,  The  quarrel  with  Christ  was  ( 
brought  to  the  disciples,  {v.  11.^  the  quarrel  with 
the  disciples  was  brought  to  Chnst  ;  {v.  14.)  this  is 
the  way  of  sowing  discoi'd  and  killing  love,  to  set 
people  against  ministers,  ministers  against  people, 
and  one  friend  against  another. 

II.  The  apology  which  Christ  made  for  his  disci- 

?iles  in  this  matter.  Christ  might  have  upbraided 
ohn's  discijjles  with  the  former  part  of  their  ques- 
tion, Jl'/iu  do  t/e  fast  often ?  "Nay,  you  know  best 
why  vou  do  it ;  but  the  tnith  is,  many  abound  in  ex- 
ternal instances  of  devotion,  that  scarcely  do  them- 
selves know  why  and  wlierefore."  But  he  only  vin- 
dicates the  practice  of  his  disciples  ;  when  they  had 
nothing  to  say  for  themselves,  he  had  something 
ready  to  say  for  them.  Note,  As  it  is  wisdom's 
honour  to  be  justified  of  all  her  children,  so  it  is  her 
children's  happiness  to  be  all  justified  of  wisdom. 
What  we  do  according  to  the  precept  and  pattern 
of  Christ,  he  will  be  sure  to  bear  us  out  in,  and  we 
may  with  confidence  leave  it  to  him  to  clear  up  our 
integritv. 
But  thou  shalt  answer.  Lord,  for  me.  Herbert. 
Two  things  Christ  pleads  in  defence  of  their  not 
fastine. 

1.  'I  hat  it  was  not  a  season  proper  for  that  dutv  : 
(t>.  15.)  Can  the  children  of  the  bride-chamber 
mourn,  as  lonff  as  the  bridegroom  is  with  them? 
Observe,  Christ's  answer  is  so  framed,  as  that  it 
might  sutliciently  justify  the  practice  of  his  own  dis- 
ciples, and  vet  not  condemn  the  institution  of  John, 
or  the  practice  of  his  disciples.  \Vhen  the  Phari- 
sees fomented  this  dispute,  they  hoped  Christ  would 
cast  blame,  either  on  his  own  disciples,  or  on  John's, 
but  he  did  neither.  Note,  When  at  any  time  we 
are  unjustly  censured,  our  care  nmst  Ije  onlv  to 
clear  ourselves,  not  to  recriminate,  or  throw  dirt 
upon  others ;  and  such  a  variety  may  there  be  of 
circumstances,  as  may  justify  us  in  our  practice, 
without  condemning  those  that  practise  otherwise. 

Now  his  argument  is  taken  from  the  common 
usage  of  joy  and  rejoicing  during  the  continuance  of 
marriage  solemnities  ;  when  all  instances  of  melan- 
choly and  sorrow  are  looked  upon  as  improper  and 
absurd,  as  it  was  at  Samson's  weddiner.  Judges  14. 
1".  Now,  (1.)  The  disciples  of  Christ  were  the 
children  of  the  bride-chamber,  invited  to  the  wed- 
ding-feast, and  welcome  there  ;  the  disciples  of  the 
Pharisees  were  not  so,  but  children  of  the  bond-ivo- 
v'.an,  (Gal.  4.  25,  :31.)  contmuing  under  a  dispensa- 


tion  of  darkness  and  terror.     Note,  The  faithful 
followers  of  Christ,  who  have  the  Spirit  of  adoption, 
have  a  continual  feast,   while  they  who  have   the 
spirit  of  bondage  and  fear,  cannot  rejoice  for  joy,  a? 
other  people,  Hos.  9.  1.  (2.)  The  disciples  of  Christ 
had  the  bridegroom  with  them,  which  the  disciples 
of  John  had  not ;  their  master  was  now  cast  mto 
prison,  and  lay  there  in  continual  danger  of  his  life, 
and  therefore   it  was  seasonable   for  them  to  fast 
often.     Such  a  day  would  come  upon  the  disciples 
of  Christ,  when  the  bridegroom  should  be  taken 
from  them,  when  they  should  be  deprived  of  his     i 
bodily  presence,  and  then  should  they  fast.     The 
thoughts  of  parting  grie\  ed  them  when  he  was  go- 
ing,  John  16.  6.     Tribulation  and  affliction  befell 
them  when  he  was  gone,  and  gave  them  occasion  of 
mourning  and  /iraying,  that  is,  of  religious  fasting. 
Note,  [1.]  Jesus  Christ   is  the   Bridegroom  of  his 
Church,  and  his  disciples  are  the  children  of  the 
bride-chamber.     Christ  sjieaks  of  himself  to  John's 
disciples  under  this  similitude,  because  that  John 
had  used  it,  when  he  called  himself  a  friend  of  the 
bridegroom,  John  3.  29.     And  if  they  would  by  this 
hint  call  to  mind  what  their  master  then  said,  they 
would  answer  themselves.     [2.]  The  condition  of 
those  who  are  the  children  of  the  bride-chamber  is 
liable  to  many  changes  and  alterations  in  this  world ; 
they  sing  of  mercy  and  judgment.     [3.]  It  is  merry 
or  melancholy  with  the  children  of  the  bride-cham- 
ber, according  as  they  ha\"e  more  or  less  of  the 
bridegroom's  presence.     When  he  is  with  them, 
the  candle  of  God  shines  upon  their  head,  and  all  is 
well ;  but  when  he  is  withdrawn,  though  but  for  a 
small  moment,  they  are  troubled,  and  walk  heavily  ; 
the  presence  and  nearness  of  the  sun  makes  day  and 
summer,  his  absence  and  distance,  night  and  winter. 
Christ  is  all  in  all  to  the  church's  joy.     [4.]  Every 
duty  is  to  be  done  in  its  proper  season.    See  Eccles. 
7.  14.  Jam.  5.  13.     There  is  a  time  to  mourn  and  a 
time  to  laugh,  to  each  of  which  we  should  accom- 
modate ourselves,  and  bring  forth  fniit  in  due  sea- 
son.    In  fasts,  regard  is  to  be  had  to  tlie  methods  of 
God's  grace  towards  us  ;  when  he  moiirns  to  us,  we 
must  lament ;  and  also  to  the  dispensations  of  his 
providence  concerning  us  ;  there  are  times  when  the 
Lord  God  calls  to  ni'eeping  and  mourning  ;  regard 
is  likewise  to  he  had  to  any  special  work  before  us, 
ch.  1".  21.  Acts  13.  2. 

2.  That  they  had  not  strength  sufficient  for  that 
duty.  This  is  set  forth  in  two  similitudes,  one,  ot 
])utting  new  cloth  into  an  old  garment,  which  does 
but  pull  the  old  to  pieces  ;  (t.  16.)  the  other  of  put- 
ting new  wine  into  old  bottles,  which  does  but  burst 
the  liottles,  v.  17.  Christ's  disciples  were  not  able 
to  bear  these  severe  exercises  so  well  as  those  of 
John  and  of  the  Pharisees,  which  the  learned  Dr. 
W'hitby  gives  this  reason  for  :  There  were  among 
the  Jews  not  only  sects  of  the  Pharisees  and  F.ssenes, 
who  led  an  austere  life,  but  also  schools  of  the  /iro- 
/ihets,  who  frequently  li\ed  in  mountains  and  de- 
serts, and  were  many  of  them  Nazarites;  they  had 
also  jjrivate  academies  to  train  men  up  in  a  strict 
discipline  ;  and  possiblv  from  these  manv  of  John's 
disciples  might  come,  and  many  of  the  Pharisees  ; 
whereas  Christ's  disciples,  being  taken  immediately 
from  their  callings,  had  not  been  used  to  such  reli- 
gious austerities,  and  were  unfit  for  them,  and  would 
bv  them  be  rather  unfitted  for  their  other  work. 
Note,  (1.)  Some  duties  of  religion  are  harder  and 
more  difficult  than  others,  like  new  cloth,  and  new 
wine,  which  requii-e  most  intcnseness  of  mind,  and 
are  most  displeasing  to  flesh  and  blood  ;  such  are 
religious  fasting  and  the  duties  that  attend  it.  (2., 
The  best  of  Christ's  disciples  pass  through  a  state 
of  infancy  ;  all  the  trees  :n  Christ's  garden  are  net 
of  a  grovvth,  nor  all  his  scholars  in  the  same  form  ; 
there  are  babes  in  Christ  and  grown  men.    (3. )  In 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IX. 


10? 


the  cnjoinint;  ol  religious  exercises,  the  weakness  and 

intini\iu  nt'  yiuiiin'  cliri>.ti;ins  mii;lit  to  be  ciiiisidercd  : 
as  the  foiid  provided  tor  them  must  be  such  as  is  pro- 
per tor  their  ase,  (1  Cor.  j.  2.  lieb.  5.  12.)  so  nuist 
the  work  be  tliat  is  cut  out  tor  tiieni.  Christ  would 
not  speak  to  his  discijiles  tliat  which  tliey  could  not 
tlien  bear,  John  l(i.  12.  Vounj;  beginners  in  relij;ion 
must  not  lie  \)ut  u])on  the  hardest  duties  at  first,  lest 
thev  be  discouraj;;ed.  Such  as  w;i,s  (iod's  care  ot 
his  Israel,  when  he  Ijrought  tlieni  out  of  K!;>pU  ""t 
to  lead  lliem  bv  the  way  of  the  Pliilistines,  (F.xod. 
13.  17,  1«. )  and  such  as  was  Jacob's  care  of  his  chil- 
dren and  cattle,  not  to  overdrive  them  ;  ((Jen.  33. 
13.)  such  is  Christ's  care  of  the  little  ones  of  his 
famih',  and  the  laml)s  of  his  flock,  he  i^ently  leads 
them  :  for  want  of  this  care,  many  times,  the  hrjtllcn 
break,  and  the  rjiiwiss/ii/lrd ;  the  profession  of  main- 
miscarries  and  comes  to  nothinj;,  through  indiscre- 
tion at  first.  Note,  There  may  Ijc  OT'C/'-doini;;  even 
in  «r//-doini;,  a  being  righteoun  ovfr->iiiic/i ;  and 
such  an  oi'cr-doingas  may  prove  ;m  »ridoini;  through 
the  subtility  of  Satim. 

10.  W'liilc  lie  spake  these  tilings  iiuto 
tluni,  bcliold,  there  came  a  certain  ruler 
and  \viirshij)|)e(i  him,  sayine;,  My  daughter 
is  even  now  dead :  but  come  and  lay  thy 
hand  upon  lier,  and  she  shall  live.  19.  And 
Jesiis  arose  and  followed  him,  and  so  did 
his  disciples.  20.  (And,  behold,  a  woman, 
which  was  diseased  with  an  issue  of  blood 
twelve  years,  came  behind  him,  and  touch- 
ed the  hem  of  his  garment:  21.  For  she 
SJiid  w  itiiin  herself,  U  I  may  but  touch  his 
garment,  I  shall  be  whole.  22.  But  Jesus 
turned  him  aiiout ;  and  when  he  saw  her, 
he  said,  Daughter,  be  of  good  comfort; 
thy  faith  hath  made  thee  whole.  And  the 
woman  was  made  whole  from  that  hour.) 
2.3.  And  when  Jesus  came  into  the  ruler's 
,  house,  and  saw  the  minstrels  and  the  peo- 
ple making  a  noise.  24.  He  said  unto 
them.  Give  place  ;  for  the  maid  is  not  dead, 
but  sleepeth.  And  they  laughed  him  to 
scorn.  2.).  But  when  the  people  were  put 
forth,  he  went  in,  and  took  her  by  the  hand, 
and  the  maid  arose.  2G.  And  the  fame 
hereof  went  abroad  into  all  that  land. 

We  lia\e  here  two  passages  of  story  jjut  together ; 
that  of  the  raising  of  Jairus's  daughter  to  lite,  aiul 
that  of  the  curing  of  the  woman  that  had  llif  hhrjdy 
issiir,  as  he  was  going  to  Jainis's  house,  which  is  iii- 
ti'odnced  in  a  ])arcnthesis,  in  the  midst  of  the  other; 
for  Christ's  miracles  were  thick  sown,  and  inter- 
woven ;  t/ie  work  of  him  that  sent  him  was  his  daily 
work.  He  was  called  to  do  these  good  works  from 
sjK' iking  the  things  foregoing,  in  answer  to  the  ca- 
vils of  tlie  Pharisees,  v.  18.  fVhile  he  sfiake  these 
thiiifcs  ;  and  we  may  suppose  it  a  ])lcasing  inter- 
ruption gi\en  to  that  unpleasant  work  of  disputa- 
tion, which,  though  sometimes  needful,  a  good  man 
will  gladly  lea\e,  to  go  about  a  work  of  devotion  or 
cliaritv.     Here  is, 

1.  The  niler's  address  to  Christ,  v.  18.  yl  certain 
ruler,  a  niler  of  the  synagogue,  came  and  tvorshi/i- 
fifd  him.  Hare  any  of  the  rulers  belitTcd  on  him  ? 
S'es,  here  was  one,  a  church-ruler,  whose  faith  con- 
demned the  unbelief  of  the  rest  of  the  nilei-s.  This 
mler  had  a  little  daughter,  of  twehc  years  old,  just 
dead,  and  this  breach  made  upon  I's  family  com- 


forts was  the  occasion  of  his  coming  to  Christ.  Note, 
In  troul)le  we  should  visit  (iod  :  the  death  of  our 
relations  sh(  uld  drive  lis  to  Christ,  who  is  <iur  life  ; 
it  is  well  if  any  thing  will  do  it.  \\  hen  affliction  is 
in  our  families',  we  must  not  sit  down  astonished, 
l)ut,  as  Jol),  _/<;//  do'.i;i\  and  ii'orshifi.     Now  ol)serve, 

1.  His  hiiniilitv  in  this  address  to  Christ.  He 
came  with  his  errand  to  Christ  himself,  and  did  not 
send  a  servant.  Note,  It  is  no  disparagement  to  the 
greatest  rulers,  jjcrsonally  to  attend  on  the  Lord  Je- 
sus. He  ivorshi/i/ied  hiin,  l)(jwed  the  knee  to  liini, 
and  gave  him  all  imaginalile  respect.  Note,  They 
that  would  receive  mercy  from  Christ  must  give 
honour  to  Christ. 

2.  His  faith  in  this  address ;  "  jl/i/  clani^hler  is 
CTi?!  now  dead,  and  though  anv  other  pliysician 
would  now  come  too  late,  (nothing  more  absurd 
than  /"■'"t  "lortem  medicina — medicine  after  death,) 
yet  Christ  comes  not  too  late  ;  he  is  a  ])hysician  after 
death,  for  he  is  tlie  resurrcctjon  and  the  hfe  ;  O  come 
then,  and  tail  thij  hand  upon  her,  and  she  shall  lire." 
'I'his  was  quite  al)0\  e  the  power  of  nature,  (o  /irhu- 
tionead  habitum  Jion  datur  reg-ressiis — life  once  lost 
cannot  be  restored,)  vet  within  the  power  of  Clhrist, 
who  has  life  in  himself,  and  i/uickeneth  wliom  he  will. 
Now  Christ  works  in  an  ordinary  way,  by  nature 
and  not  at(ainsl  it,  and,  therefore,  we  cannot  in  faith 
bring  hini  such  a  request  as  this;  while  there  is  life 
there  is  hope,  and  room  for  prayer  ;  but  when  our 
friends  are  dead,  the  case  is  determined  ;  we  shall 
go  to  them,  but  they  shall  not  return  to  us.  But 
while  Christ  was  here  upon  earth  working  miracles, 
such  a  confidence  as  this  was  not  only  allowable  but 
very  commendable. 

II.  The  readiness  of  Christ  to  comply  with  his 
address,  v.  19.  Jesus  immediately  arose,  left  his 
c,omi)anv,  and  followed  him;  he  was  not  onl> wil- 
ling to  grant  him  what  he  desired,  in  raising  his 
daughlei-  to  life,  but  to  gratify  him  so  far  as  to  come 
to  his  house  to  do  it.  Surely  he  nti'er  said  to  the 
seed  of  .Jacob,  Seek  ye  me  in  vain.  He  denied  to  go 
along' with  the  nobleman,  who  said,  .S/r,  come  down, 
ere  mu  child  die,  (John  -I.  48,  49,  50.)  yet  he  went 
along'with  the  ruler  of  the  synagogue,  who  said,  Sr^ 
come  down,  and  my  child  shall  Iti-e.  The  variety  ^ 
of  methods  which  Christ  took  in  working  his  mira- 
cles, is  perhaps  to  lie  attributed  to  the  difl'erent  frame 
and  temjjer  of  mind,  which  they  were  in  who  appli- 
ed to  him,  which  he  who  searcheth  the  heart,  per-  ■ 
fectly  knew,  and  accommodated  himself  to.  He 
knows  what  is  in  man,  and  what  course  to  take  with 
him.  And  observe,  when  Jesus  followed hitn,  so  did 
his  disci/lies,  whom  he  had  chosen  for  his  constant 
companions  ;  it  was  not  for  state,  or  that  he  might 
come  with  oljservation,  that  he  took  his  attendants 
with  him,  but  that  they  might  be  the  witnesses  of 
his  miracles,  who  were  hereafter  to  be  the  ])reach- 
ers  of  his  doctrine. 

III.  The  healing  of  the  poor  woman's  bloody  issue. 
I  call  her  a  poor  woman,  not  only  because  her  case 
was  piteous,  but  because,  though  she  had  something 
in  the  world,  she  had  sfient  it  all  upon  physicians, 
for  the  cure  of  her  distemper,  and  was  ne\  er  the 
better  ;  which  was  a  double  aggravation  of  the  mi 
sery  of  her  condition,  that  she  had  been  full,  but 
was  now  empty  ;  and  that  she  had  impoverished 
herself  for  the  i-ccoveiT  of  her  health,  and  yet  had 
not  her  health  neither.  This  woman  was  diseased 
with  a  constant  i.wue  of  blood  twelve  years ;  {v.  20.) 
a  disease,  which  was  not  only  weakening  and  wast- 
ing, and  under  which  the  body  must  needs  languish  ; 
but  which  also  rendered  her  ceremonially  unclean, 
■and  shut  her  out  from  the  courts  of  the  Lord's  house ; 
but  it  did  not  cut  her  off"  from  approaching  to  Christ. 
She  applied  herself  to  Christ,  and  received  mercy 
from  him,  bv  the  way,  as  he  followed  the  mler, 
whose  daughter  was  dead,  to  whom  it  would  be  .-i 


104 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IX. 


ijreat  encouragement,  and  a  help  to  keep  up  his  faith 
in  tlie  uower  of  v^'hrist.  So  giMcicusly  does  Christ 
conside.'  the  frame,  and  consult  the  case,  of  weak 
believers.     Obser\  e, 

1.  The  woman's  great  faith  in  Christ,  and  in  his 
power.  Her  disease  was  of  such  a  nature,  that  her 
modesty  would  not  suffer  her  to  seek  openly  to  Christ 
for  a  cure,  as  others  did,  but,  by  a  ])eculiar  impulse 
of  the  Spirit  of  faith,  she  belie\ed  him  to  ha\'e  such 
an  ovcrrtowing  fulness  of  healing  virtue,  that  the 
very  touch  of/iisg-armerit  would  be  her  cure.  This, 
perhaps,  had  something  of  fancy  mixed  with  faith  ; 
tor  she  had  no  precedent  for  this  way  of  application 
to  Christ,  unless,  as  some  think,  she  had  an  eye  to 
the  raisinjj  of  the  dead  man  bj-  the  touch  of  Elisha's 
bones,  2  kings  13.  21.  But  what  urahiess  of  un- 
derstanding there  was  in  it,  Christ  was  pleased  to 
o\erlQok,  and  to  accept  the  sincerity  and  strength  of 
her  faith ;  for  he  ealeth  the  honey-comb  with  the 
honey,  Cknl.  4.  11.  Sl\c  belie\cd  she  should  be 
healed  if  she  did  but  touch  the  verv  hem  of  his  gar- 
ment, the  extremity  of  it.  Note,  There  is  virtue  in 
every  thing  that  belongs  to  Christ.  The  holy  oil 
with  which  the  high-priest  was  anointed,  ran  down 
to  the  skirts  of  his  garments,  Ps.  133.  2.  Such  a 
fulness  of  grace  is  there  in  Christ,  that  fr07)i  it  we 
may  all  receive,  Jolin  1.  16. 

2.  Christ's  great  favour  to  this  woman.  He  did 
not  suspend  (as  he  might  have  done)  his  healing 
influences,  l)ut  suffered  this  bashful  patient  to  steal  a 
cure  unknown  to  any  one  else,  though  she  could  not 
think  to  do  it  unknown  to  him.  And  now  she  was 
well  content  to  be  gone,  for  she  !iad  what  she  came 
for,  but  Christ  was  not  willing  to  let  her  go ;  he  will 
not  only  ha\e  his  power  magnified  in  her  cure,  but 
his  grace  magnified  in  her  comfort  and  commenda- 
tion :  the  triumphs  of  her  faith  must  be  to  her  praise 
and  honour.  He  turned  about  to  see  for  her,  {xk  22.) 
and  soon  discovered  her.  Note,  It  is  great  encou- 
ragement to  humble  Christians,  that  thev  who  hide 
themsehes  from  men,  are  known  to  Christ,  who 
sees  in  secret  their  ap|)lications  to  heaven  when 
most  private.     Now  here, 

(1.)  He  /luts  gladness  into  her  heart,  bvthat  word 
Daughter,  be  of  good  comfort.  She  feared  being 
chidileu  for  coming  clandestineh',  but  she  is  encou- 
raged. [1.]  He  calls  her  f/a;<^j-/jri'7-,  for  he  spoke  to 
her  with  the  tenderness  of  a  fatlier,  as  he  did  to  the 
man  sici-  of  the  /la/sy,  (v.  2.)  whom  he  called  sc;«. 
Note,  Christ  has  comforts  rearlv  for  the  daughters 
ofZion,  that  arc  of  a  sori-owful  si)irit,  as  Hannah 
was,  1  Sam.  1.  15.  Believing  women  are  Christ's 
f/a.'io-/;/;;-.9,  and  he  will  own  them  as  such.  [2.]  He 
bids  her  be  of  good  comfort :  she  has  reason  to  be  so, 
if  Christ  own  her  for  a  daughter.  Note,  the  saints' 
consolation  is  founded  in  their  ado])tion.  His  bidding 
her  be  comforted,  brought  comfort  with  it,  as  his 
saying  be  ye  v.'liole,  brought  healtb  with  it.  Note, 
It  is  the  will  of  Clirist  tliat  his  peo])le  should  he  com- 
forted, and  it  is  his  prerogative  to  command  comfort 
to  troubled  sj^irits.  He  creates  the  fruit  of  his  lifts, 
peace,  Isa.  57.  19. 

(2. )  He  puts  honour  upon  her  faith.  That  grace 
of  all  others  gives  most  honour  to  Christ,  and  there- 
fore he  puts  most  honour  upon  it ;  Thy  faith  has 
made  thee  mhole.  Thus,  bu  faith  she  obtained  a  good 
re/tort.  And  as  of  all  graces  Christ  puts  the  greatest 
honour  u])on  faith,  so  of  all  believers  he  puts  the 
greatest  honour  upon  those  that  are  most  humble  ; 
as  here  on  this  woman,  who  had  more  f  lith  than  she 
thought  she  had.  She  has  reason  to  be  of  good  com- 
fort, not  onlv  because  she  was  made  whole,  !)ut  be- 
cause hf^r  faith  had  made  her  whole ;  that  is,  [1.]  She 
was  spii'itually  healed  ;  that  cure  was  wrought  in  her 
which  is  the  ])roi)er  fruit  and  effect  of  faith,  the  par- 
don of  sin  and  the  work  of  grace.  Note,  We  niav 
then  be  abundantly  comforted  in  our  temporal  mer- 


cies when  they  are  accompanied  with  those  spiritual 
blessings  that  resemble  them  :  our  food  and  raiment 
will  be  comfortable,  when  by  faith  we  are  fed  with 
the  bread  of  life,  and  clothed  with  tJie  righteousness  of 
Jesus  Christ :  our  rest  and  sleep  will  be  condortablc, 
when,  by  faith,  we  rejjose  in  Gcd,  and  dwell  at  ease 
in  him  :  our  health  and  prosperity  will  be  comforta- 
ble, when,  bv  faith,  our  souls  prosper  and  are  in 
health.  See  Isa.  38.  16,  17.  [2.]  Her  bodily  cure 
was  the  fi-uit  of  faith,  of  her  faith,  and  that  made  it 
a  happy,  comfortable  cure  indeed.  I'hcy  out  of 
whom  the  devils  were  cast,  were  helped  by  Christ's 
soverei^i  power ;  some  by  the  faith  of  others ;  (as  v. 
2.)  hat  \t  IS  thy  faith  that  has  made  thee  whole.  Note, 
Temporal  mercies  are  then  comforts  indeed  to  us,  \ 
when  they  are  received  by  faith.  If,  when  in  pursuit 
of  mercy,  we  pi-ay  for  it  in  faith,  with  an  eye  to  the 
promise,  and  in  dependence  ujjon  that,  if  we  desired 
It  for  the  sake  of  God's  glory,  and  with  a  resignation 
to  God's  will,  and  have  our  hearts  enlarged  by  it  in 
faith,  love,  and  obedience,  we  may  then  say,  it  was 
received  by  faith.  — -^ 

IV.  The  posture  in  which  he  found  the  ruler's 
house,  T'.  13.  He  saw  the  peo/ile  and  the  minstrels, 
or  musicians,  making  a  noise.  The  house  was  in  a 
hurry;  such  work  does  death  make,  when  it  ccmes 
into  a  family  ;  and,  perhaps,  the  necessary  cares 
that  arise  at  such  a  time,  when  our  dead  is  to  be  de- 
cently buried  out  of  our  sight,  give  some  useful  di- 
version to  that  grief  which  is  apt  to  prev  ail  and  plav 
the  tvrant.  I'lie  people  in  the  neighbourhood  came 
together  to  condole  on  account  of  the  loss,  to  comfort 
the  parents,  to  prepare  for,  and  attend  on,  the  fune- 
ral, which  the  Jews  were  not  wont  to  defer  long. 
The  musicians  were  among  them,  according  to  the 
custom  of  the  Gentiles,  with  their  doleful,  melal^ 
choly  tunes,  to  increase  the  grief,  and  stir  up  the 
lamentations  of  those  that  attended  on  this  occasion  ; 
as  (they  sav)  is  usual  among  the  Irish,  with  their 
Ahone,  Ahone.  Thus  they  indulged  a  passion  that 
is  a])t  enough  of  itself  to  grow  mtemperate,  and 
affected  to  sorrow  as  those  that  had  no  hojie.  See 
how  religion  provides  cordials,  where  iiTeligion  ad- 
ministers corrosiv  es.  Heathenism  aggravates  that 
grief  w  hich  Christianity  studies  to  assuage.  Or  per- 
haps these  musicians  endeavoured  on  the  other  hand 
to  divert  the  grief  and  exhilirate  the  family  ;  but  as 
vinegar  ufion  nitre,  so  is  he  that  sings  songs  to  a  heavy 
heart.  Obsen-e,  The  parents,  who  were  immedi- 
diately  touched  with  the  affliction,  were  silent,  while 
the  /leo/ile  and  minstrels,  whose  lamentations  were 
forced,  made  such  a  noise.  Note,  The  loudest  grief 
is  not  always  the  greatest ;  rivers  are  most  noisy 
where  they  rtin  shallow.  Ille  dolet  vere,  qui  sine 
teste  dolet — Tliat  griifis  most  sincere,  which  shuns 
observation.  But  notice  is  taken  of  this  to  show  that 
the  girl  was  really  dead,  in  the  undoubted  apprehen- 
sion of  all  about  her. 

V.  The  rebuke  that  Christ  gave  to  this  huny  and 
noise,  •!'.  24.  He  said,  fJn'c //tore.  Note,  Sometimes, 
when  the  sorrow  of  the  world  prevails,  it  is  difficult 
for  Christ  and  his  comforts  to  enter.  They  that 
harden  themselves  in  sorrow,  and,  like  Rachel,  re- 
fuse to  be  comforted,  should  think  they  hear  Christ 
saving  to  their  disquieting  thoughts,  Gix-e  place: 
"Make  room  for  him  who  is  the  ^'onsolation  of  Is- 
rael, and  brings  with  him  strong  ctnsolations,  strong 
enough  to  overcome  the  confusion  and  tyi-anny  of 
these  worldh'  giiefs,  if  he  may  but  be  admitted  into 
the  soul."  He  gives  a  good  reason  why  thc\'  should 
not  thus  disquiet  themselves  and  one  another;  The 
maid  is  not  dead  but  slee/ieth.  ].  This  was  eminently 
tnic  of  this  maid,  that  was  immediately  to  be  raisetl 
to  life  ;  she  was  reallv  dead,  but  not  so  to  Chris*:,  who 
knew  within  himself  what  he  would  do,  and  could 
do,  and  who  had  determined  to  make  her  death  but 
as  a  sleep.     There  is  little  more  difference  between 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IX. 


10.^ 


«leep  and  death,  but  in  continuance ;  whate\  er  other 
djflcivncc  there  is,  it  is  but  a  driani.  This  ileatli 
must  be  but  <if  short  continuance,  and  thercl'iire  is 
but  a  sleej),  like  one  ui;;hl's  rest.  He  tiiatiiuickens 
the  dead,  ni.iy  well  call  tlie  things  wliich  be  not  as 
thou-h  they  were,  Koni.  4.  17.  J.  It  is  in  a  sense 
true  of  all  that  die,  chiefly  ot'  them  that  die  in  llit- 
J.orJ.  Note,  (1.)  Death'  is  a  skej).  All  nations 
and  languai/es,  i.  r  the  softening  of  tliat  which  is  so 
drcidfal,  and  withal  so  iniavoidable,  and  the  recon- 
ciling vif  tlieniseh  es  to  it,  ha\  e  agreed  to  call  it  so. 
It  is  said,  even  of  the  wicked  kings,  tint  they  si</it 
with  t/uir  Jlithcrs ;  and  of  tliose  that  sliall  arise  to 
everlasting  contempt,  th.it  l/icy  sln/i  in  the  diif!, 
Dan.  12.  2.  It  is  not  the  slecj)  of  the  soul  ;  its  ac- 
tivity ceases  n<it ;  but  tlie  sleep  if  the  bc:dy,  which 
lies  down  in  the  grave,  still  and  silent,  regardless 
and  disregarded,  wrapt  up  in  darkness  aiul  obscurit) . 
Sleep  is  a  short  death,  and  death  a  long  sleep.  But 
t/ie  hath  of  the  righteous  is  in  a  special  manner  to 
be  looked  upon  as  a  slee]),  Isa.  57.  2.  They  sleep  in 
Jesus  ;  (1  'I  hess.  4.  14.)  they  not  only  rest  from  the 
toils  and  Uiljours  of  the  da\ ,  but  rest  in  hojie  of  a  joy- 
ful waking  again  in  the  morning  of  the  resurrection, 
when  they  shall  wake  refreshed,  wake  to  a  new  life, 
wake  to  be  richiv  dressed  and  crowned,  and  nvuke  to 
slee/i  m  more.  (2.)  The  consideiation  of  this  should 
moderate  our  giief  at  the  death  of  our  dear  relations : 
"say  not,  they  ure  lost ;  no,  they  are  but  t'OJiC  before: 
say  not,  tliej-  are  siai?i ;  no,  they  are  h\x\. fallen  asleeft ; 
and  the  apostle  speaks  of  it  as  an  absurd  thing  to 
imagine  tliat  they  that  are  fallen  aslee/i  in  Christ  are 
fierished ;  (I  Cor.  15.  19.)  give  /dace,  therefore,  to 
those  comfoi-ts  which  the  co\  enant  of  grace  minis- 
ters, fetched  from  the  future  state,  and  the  glory  to 
^  repealed." 

Now  could  it  be  thought  that  such  a  comfortable 
word  as  this,  from  the  mouth  of  our  Lord  Jesus, 
should  be  ridiculed  as  it  was  ?  They  laughed  him 
to  acorn.  These  people  lived  in  Capernaum,  knew 
Christ's  charactei',  that  he  never  spake  a  i-ash  or 
foolish  word ;  tliey  knew  how  manv  might)'  woiks 
he  had  d me  ;  so  that  if  they  did  not  understand  what 
he  meant  by  t'.iis,  they  miijht  at  least  ha\  e  been  si- 
lent in  expectation  ot'  the  issue.  Note,  I'he  woi-ds 
and  works  of  Chiist  wliich  cannot  be  understood, 
yet  are  not  therefore  to  be  despised.  We  must  adore 
the  mystery  of  divine  sayings,  even  when  they  seem 
to  contradict  what  we  think  ourselves  most  confident 
of.  Yet  e\  en  this  tended  to  the  confirmation  of  the 
miracle  :  for  it  seems  she  was  so  apparently  dead, 
that  it  was  thought  a  very  ridiculous  thing  to  say  ; 
otherwise. 

\'I.  The  raising  of  the  damsel  to  life  by  the  power  ' 
of  Christ,  i'.  25.  The /leo/ile  luere /lut  forth.  Note,' 
Scorncrs  that  laugh  at  what  they  see  and  hear  that 
is  above  their  capacit)-,  are  not  proper  witnesses  of 
the  wonderful  works'of  Christ,  the  glorv  of  which 
lies  not  in  i)omp,  but  in  power.  The  widow's  son  at 
Naiii,  and  La/,  irus,  were  raised  from  the  dead  open- 
ly, but  this  damsel  privately  ;  for  Capernaum,  that 
had  slighted  the  lesser  miracles  of  restoring  health, 
was  unworthy  1 1  see  the  greater,  of  restoring  life  ; 
these  /learln  '.vere  not  to  be  cast  before  those  that 
would  tram/ile  them  under  their  feet. 

Christ  went  in  and  took-  her  by  the  hand,  as  it  were 
'o  awake  her,  and  to  help  her  up,  prosecuting  his 
•nvn  met  i])hor  of  her  being  iisleep.  1  he  high-priest, 
I  hat  typified  Christ,  was  not  to  come  near  the  dead, 
I  Lev.' 21.  10,  ll.)hmC\\rht  touched  the  deail.  The 
Levitical  pi'iesthoo<I  lca\es  the  dead  in  their  un- 
clcanness,  and  therefore  keeps  at  a  distance  from 
them,  because  it  cannot  remedy  them  ;  but  Chiist, 
having  power  to  raise  the  dead,'  is  above  the  infec- 
tion, and  therefore  is  not  shy  of  touching  them.  He 
look  her  by  the  hand,  and  the  maid  arose.  So  easily, 
so  effectually  was  the  miracle  wrought;  not  by  pray-  , 

Vol..  V. — O 


er,  as  Klijah  did,  (1  Kings  17.  21.)  and  Elisna,  (2 
Kings  4.  oj.)  but  by  a  touch.  'I'hey  did  it  as  ser- 
vanib,  he  as  a  hon,  as  a  (Ji.d,  to  ivhom  belonir  the 
i.ssuts  from  death.  Note,  Jesus  Christ  i.s  the  Lord 
oi  souls,  he  connnands  them  forth,  and  roniinands 
them  back,  when  and  as  he  ])leases.  iJiad  stlUs 
are  not  r.i.sed  to  spiritual  life,  unless  C  hrist  fukc  i 
them  by  the  hund  :  it  is  done  in  thet/ui/  of  his]io'.Vir.  • 
He  helps  us  up,  or  we  lie  still. 

Vll.  The  general  notice  that  was  taken  of  this 
miracle,  thi;Uj,h  it  w  as  wix)ught  i)ri\  alelv  ;  v.  2f .  the 
fume  thereof  ivent  abroad  into  all  that  land:  it  was 
the  common  subject  of  disc(aii-se.  Note,  Chii.st's 
works  are  more  talked  of  than  considered  and  im- 
prtned.  .\iid  doubtless,  they  that  heard  only  the 
report  (if  Christ's  miracles,  were  accountable  fi  i 
that  as  w  cU  as  they  that  w  ere  eye-witnesses  (if  them. 
Though  we  at  this  distance  have  not  seen  Christ's 
miracles,  yet  having  an  authentic  history  (,f  them, 
we  are  bound,  up(  n  the  credit  of  that,  to  i  ecei\  e  his 
doctrine  ;  and  blessed  are  they  that  have  not  seen, 
and  yet  have  beliex'ed,  John  20.  29. 

27.  And  whon  .Tesus  departed  tlieiue, 
two  blind  men  followed  him,  rryiiig,  and 
saying,  Tliou  Son  of  Ua\id,  liave  meicy 
on  us.  28.  And  when  he  was  come  into 
tiie  house,  the  blind  men  came  to  him : 
and  Jesus  saith  unto  tlum,  Belie\ i'  ye  tliat 
I  am  able  to  do  this  ]  They  said  uhto  liini, 
Vca,  Lord.  29.  Then  touehed  lie  llieir 
eyes,  saying.  According  to  your  lailli  be  it 
unto  you.  30.  And  their  eyes  w  eie  oj-en- 
ed :  and  Jesus  straitly  charged  them  saying, 
See  that  no  man  know  it.  31.  l^tTt  they, 
when  they  were  departed,  spread  abioad 
his  fame  in  all  that  country.  32.  As  they 
went  out,  behold,  they  brought  to  him  a 
dumb  man  possessed  with  a  de\il.  33. 
And  when  the  devil  was  cast  out,  the 
dumb  spake :  and  the  multitude  marvelled, 
saying.  It  was  never  so  seen  in  Israel. 
34.  But  the  Pharisees  said.  He  casteth  out 
devils  through  the  prince  of  the  devils. 

In  these  \  erses  we  have  an  account  of  two  mere 
miracles  wrought  together  by  our  Saviour. 

1.  The  giviiig  of  sight  to  two  blind  men,  x\  27 — 31. 
Christ  is  the  Fountain  of  light  as  well  as  life  ;  and 
as,  by  raising  the  dead,  he  showed  himself  to  be  the 
same  that  at  first  breathed  into  ma/i  the  breath  of 
life,  so,  by  giving  sight  to  the  Ijlind,  he  show  cd  him- 
self to  be  the  same  that  at  first  commanded  the  light 
to  shine  out  of  darkness.     Obsene, 

1.  The  importunate  address  of  the  blind  men  to 
Christ.  He  was  returning  from  the  luler's  house 
to  his  own  lodgings,  and  these  blind  men  fotl'.ni-id 
him,  as  beggars  do,  with  their  incessant  cries,  t.  17. 
He  that  cured  diseases  so  easily,  so  efiectually, 
and,  withal,  at  so  chea])  a  rate,  shall  ha\  e  ])atieiits 
enough.  As  for  other  things,  so  Jje  is  famed  for  an 
Oculist.     Obsene, 

(1.)  The  title  which  these  blind  men  gave  to 
Chiist  ;  Thou  Son  of  David,  have  mercy  on  vs. 
The  pi-omise  made  to  David,  that  of  his  loins  the 
Messiah  should  come,  was  well  known,  and  the 
Messiah  was  therefore  commonly  called  the  Kon  of 
David.  At  this  time  there  was  a  tencral  exjiectH- 
tion  of  his  appearing  ;  these  blind  men  know,  an. I 
own,  and  proclaim  it  in  the  streets  of  Ca)  ernanm, 
that  he  is  come,  and  that  this  is  he  ;  wh'ch  aiitra- 
vates  the  folly  and  sin  of  the  chief  priests  and  Pha- 


106 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IX. 


risees  who  denied  and  opposed  him.  They  could 
not  see  him  and  his  mir;iclcs,  but  fait/i  comes  by 
hearing.  Note,  They  wlio,  by  tlie  providence  of 
(jod,  ure  deprived  of  bodily  siglit,  may  yet,  by  the 
(jrace  of  God,  have  the  eyes  of  their  imderstanding^ 
so  en/ii(htened,  as  to  discern  those  great  things  of 
Ciod,  which  are  hid  from  the  ivise  and  /irudent. 

(2.)  Tlteir  petition.  Have  mercy  on  us.  It  was 
foretold  that  tlie  Son  of  Dai'id  should  be  merciful, 
(Ps.  72.  12,  13.)  and  in  liim  shines  the  tender  mercy 
of  our  God,  Lulce  1.  78.     Note,  Wliatever  our  ne- 


cessities  and  Ijurdens  are,  we  need  no  more  tor  sup' 
ply  and  support,  than  a  share  in  the  mercy  of  our 
Lord  Jesus.  \\'"hether  he  heal  us  or  no,  if  he  have 
mercy  on  us,  we  have  enough  ;  as  to  the  particular 
instances  and  nietliods  of  mercy,  we  may  safely  and 
wisely  refer  ourselves  to  the  wisdom  of  Christ. 
Tliey  did  not  each  of  them  say  for  liimself,  Have 
mercy  on  me,  but  both  for  one  anotlier,  Have  mercy 
on  u.i.  Note,  It  becomes  tliose  that  are  imder  the 
same  affliction,  to  concur  in  the  same  prayers  for 
relief.  Fellow-sufferers  should  be  joint-petitioners. 
In  Christ  tliere  is  enouglt  for  all. 

(3.)  Their  importunity  in  tliis  request ;  ^\\e\  fol- 
lowed him,  crying.  It  seems,  he  did  not  take  notice 
of  them  at  first,  for  he  would  try  tlieir  faith,  which 
he  knew  to  be  strong  ;  would  quicken  thpir  pi-ayers, 
and  make  liis  cures  tlie  more  \alucd,  when  they  did 
not  alw.iys  come  at  the  first  word  ;  ani'.  would  teach 
us  to  continue  instant  in  firayer,  always  to  /tray,  and 
not  to  faint ;  and,  though  the  answer  do  not  come 
presently,  yet  to  wait  for  it,  and  to  follow  pro\  i- 
Sence,  even  in  those  steps  and  outgoings  of  it  which 
seem  to  neglect  or  contradict  our  prayers.  Christ 
would  not  ileal  tliem  puljlicly  in  the  streets,  for  this 
was  a  cure  he  would  have  ke])t  private,  (t.  30.)  but 
when  lif  came  into  the  hoii.sc,  tlio\'  followed  him 
tliitlier,  and  came  to  him.  Note,  Clirist's  doors  are 
alwavs  o])en  to  believing  and  im]jortunate  petition- 
ers ;  it  seemed  nide  in  them  to  rush  into  the  house 
after  him,  when  lie  desired  to  retire  ;  but,  such  is 
the  tenderness  of  our  Lord  Jesus,  tliat  they  were  not 
more  bold  than  welcome. 

2.  The  confession  of  faith,  which  Christ  drew 
from  them  upon  this  occasion.  \\'hen  they  came  to 
him  for  mercy,  lie  asked  them.  Believe  ye  that  I  am 
able  to  do  this  ?  Note,  Faith  is  the  great  condition 
of  Christ's  favours.  Thev  who  would  recci\e  the 
nifrcy  of  Christ,  must  firmly  believe  tlie  power  oi 
Christ.  What  we  would  ha\e  him  do  for  us,  we 
must  be  fully  assured  that  he  is  able  to  do.  They 
followed  Christ,  and  followed  him  crying,  but  the 
gi-eat  question  is.  Do  ye  beliex-e  ?  Nature  may  woi-k 
fervency,  but  it  is  only  grace  that  can  work  faith  : 
spiritual  blessings  are  obtained  only  by  faith.  They 
hid  intimated  tlieir  faith  in  the  office  of  Christ  as 
Son  of  David,  and  in  his  mcrcv  ;  but  Christ  de- 
mands likev/ise  a  profession  of  faith  in  his  power. 
Believe  ue  that  lam  able?  Note,  Christ  will  have 
the  glnrv  of  his  power  ascribed  to  him,  Ijy  all  those 
who  h"pe  to  have  the  benefit  of  it.  Beliei'e  ye  that 
I  am  able  to  do  this  ;  to  bestow  this  fa\'Our  ;  to  give 
sight  to  the  blind,  as  well  as  to  cure  the  palsy  and 
raise  the  dead  .•'  Note,  It  is  good  to  be  jiarticular 
in  the  exercise  of  faith,  to  apply  the  general  as- 
surances of  CrOcVs  power  and  good  will,  and  the 
general  promises,  to  our  particular  exigences.  .-?// 
shall  work  for  good,  and  if  all,  then  this.  "  Believe 
ye  that  I  am  able,  not  oulv  to  pre\ail  with  (iod  for 
It,  as  a  prophet,  but  that  I  am  able  to  do  it  by  my 
own  power  ?"  This  will  amount  to  their  belief  of  his 
being  not  onlv  the  Son  of  David,  but  the  Son  of  God ; 
for  it  is  God's  prerogative  to  o/ien  the  eyes  of  the 
blind  ;  (Ps.  116.  8.)  he  makes  the  seeing  eye,  F.xod. 
4.  11.  }ob  was  eyes  to  the  blind ;  (Job  29.  15.)  was 
to  them  instead  of  eyes,  but  he  could  not  give  eyes 
to  the  blind.    Still  it  is  put  to  us,  Believe  toe  that 


Christ  is  able  to  do  for  us,  by  the  prwer  of  his  mtrit 
and  intercession  in  heaven,  o!  his  Spirit  and  grace 
in  the  heart,  and  of  his  providence  ;ind  dominion  in 
the  world  ?  To  believe  the  powi.r  o'.  Christ,  is  not 
only  to  assure  ourselves  of  it,  but  to  c  jpirrn'  aurs<^lves 
to  it,  and  encourage  ourseh  e'-  in  it. 

To  this  question  the)'  gi\e  an  immediaie  answtr, 
without  hesitation  :  they  said.  Yea,  J^ord.  Though 
he  had  kept  them  in  suspense  a  while,  ar.d  had  not 
helped  them  at  first,  tliey  honestly  imputid  that  to 
his  wisdom,  not  to  his  weakness,  and  weiv  still  con- 
fident of  his  ability.  Note,  The  treasure  j  of  mercy 
that  are  laid  up  in  the  jiower  of  Clirist,  r.re  laid  out 
and  wrought  fjr  those  that  trust  in  hiin,  I's.  31.  19. 

3.  The  cure  that  Christ  wrought  on  them  ;  he 
touched  their  'yes,  v.  29.     This  he  did  to  encourage 
their  faith,  which,  by  liis  delay,  he  had  tried,  and 
to  show  that  he  gi\es  sight  to  blind  .souls  b)'  the  ope- 
rations of  his  grace  accompanying  the  woi-d,  anoint 
ing  the  eyes  with  eye-sah'e :  and  he  ])ut  the  cure  u])on 
their  faith,  According  to  your  faith  be  it  unto  you. 
When  they  begged  for  a  cure,  he  inquired  into  their 
faith,  {v.  28.)  Beliei'e  ye  that  I  am  able?    He  did 
not  inquire  into  their  wealth,  whether  they  were 
able  to  pay  him  for  a  cure  ;  nor  into  tlieir  reputa- 
tion, should  he  get  credit  by  curing  them  ;  but  into 
tlieir  faith  ;  and  now  they  had  ]irofcssed  tlieir  faith 
he  referred  the  matter  to  that ;  "  I  know  \ou  do 
believe,  and  the  power  )ou  believe  in  sliall  be  ex- 
erted for  \ou  ;  jiccording  to  your  faith  be  it  unto 
you."    This  speaks,  (1.')  His  knowledge  of  the  sin- 
cerity of  their  faith,  and  his  acce];tance  and  ap])ro- 
bation  of  it.     Note,  It  is  a  great  comfoit  to  tiiie  be- 
lievers, that  Jesus  Christ  knows  tlieir  faith,  and  is 
well  pleased  with  it.     Thcngh  it  be  weak,  thou  A 
others  do  not  discern  it,  thongli  they  themseh  es  are 
ready  to  question  it,  it  is  known  to  him.     (2.)  His 
insisting  upon  their  faith  as  necessary  ;  "  If  you  be- 
lieve, take  what  you  come  for."    Note,  They  wTTo 
apply  themselves  to  Jesus  Christ,  shall  be  dealt  with 
according  to  their  faith  ;  not  according  to  their  fan- 
cies, not  according  to  theh'  /irofe.'.sion,  but,  according 
to  their  faith  ;  that  is,  unbelievers  cannot  ex])ect  to 
find  any  favour  with  God,  but  true  belie\ers  may 
be  sure  to  find  all  that  favour  which  is  offered  in  the 
gospel ;  and  our  comforts  ebb  or  flow,  according  as 
our  faith  is  stronger  or  weaker ;  we  are  not  strait- 
ened in  Clirist,  let  us  not  then  be  straitened  in  our- 
selves. 

4.  The  charge  he  gave  them  to  keep  it  private, 
(t.  30.)  See  that  no  man  know  it.  He  ga\e  them 
I  this  charge,  (1.)  To  set  us  an  example  of  that  hu- 
mility and  lowliness  of  mind,  which  he  would  have 
us  to  learn  of  him.  Note,  In  the  good  we  do,  we 
must  not  seek  our  own  pi-aise,  but  only  tlie  glory  of 
God  :  It  must  be  more  our  care  and  endeavour  to  be 
useful,  than  to  be  known  and  obsened  to  be  so, 
Prov.  20.  6. — 25.  27.  Thus  Christ  seconded  the 
nile  he  had  gi\en,  Let  not  thy  left  hand  know  what 
thif  right  hand  doth.  (2.)  Some  think  that  Christ, 
in  keeping  it  prix'ate,  showed  his  disjileasure  against 
the  ijeopie  of  Caijernaum,  who  liad  seen  so  many 
miracles,  and  yet  believed  not.  Note,  The  silencing 
of  tliose  who  should  proclaim  the  works  of  Christ, 
is  a  judgment  to  any  place  or  people  :  and  it  is  just 
with  Christ,  to  deny  the  means  of  conviction  to  those 
that  are  obstinate  in  tlieir  infidelity  ;  and  to  slirond 
the  light  from  those'  that  shut  their  eyes  against  it. 
(3.)  He  did  it  in  discretion  for  bis  own  presenation  ; 
because  the  more  he  was  proclaimed,  tlie  more 
jealous  would  the  rulers  of  the  Jews  be  rf  his  crow- 
ing interest  among  the  people.  (4.)  Dr.  Whitin' 
gives  another  reason,  which  is  ven-  crnsidcrable, 
why  Christ  sometimes  concealed  his  miracles,  and 
afterwards  forbid  the  imblishiri;  of  h's  tr:uispinu-a- 
tion  ;  because  he  would  not  in(l"K'e  *hat  )>i"'niri'^us 
conceit  which  obtained  among  llie  Jew  s,  that  tlieir 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IX. 


107 


Messiah  shnuU'i  be  a  temporal  prinro,  and  so  give 
occasicin  to  llie  lK-oi)le  to  attempt  tlie  setting  up  ot" 
his  kin;j,(loni,  by  tunuilts  and  seilitions,  as  they  of- 
fered ti>  do,  John  ti.  15.  But  wlien,  after  his  resur- 
rection, (whidi  was  tlie  full  proof  of  his  mission,) 
his  spintual  kini^doni  was  set  u|),  thvn  tliat  danger 
was  o\er,  and  they  nuist  l<e  i)ul>lished  to  all  nations. 
And  lie  oliserves,  tliat  the  miracles  which  Christ 
wrought  among  the  (ientiles  and  the  (ladarenes, 
were  oidered  to  he  puhlished,  because  with  them 
tlierc  was  not  that  danger. 

But  honour  is  like  the  shadow,  which,  as  it  flees 
fiiim  those  that  follow  it,  so  it  follows  those  that  flee 
from  it;  (t.  31.)  Tlicy  s/trcacl  abroad  A  in  fame. 
This  was  more  an  act  of  zeal,  than  of  prudence  ; 
and  though  it  may  be  excused  as  honestly  meant  for 
the  honour  of  Clii-ist,  yet  it  cannot  l)e  justified,  l)eing 
done  against  a  particular  cliarge.  \\lienever  we 
profess  to  direct  our  attention  to  the  glory  of  (iod,' 
we  must  sec  to  it  that  the  action  be  according  to  the 
will  of  ( Iod.  j 

II.  The  healing  of  a  dumb  man,  that  was  pos- 
senscd  '.villi  a  drvil.     .\nd  liere  observe,  I 

1.  His  case,  which  was  \ ery  sad.  He  was  under 
the  power  of  the  de\ il  in  this  particular  instance, 
that  he  was  disabled  from  speaking,  v.  32.  ^-ce  the 
calamitous  state  of _ this  world,  and  how  \arious  the 
afflictions  of  the  afHictcd  are  !  ANe  have  no  sooner 
dismissed  livu  hlind  mm,  but  we  meet  with  a  dumb 
man.  How  thankful  should  we  be  to  (iod  foi-  our 
sight  and  sijeech  !  See  the  malice  of  Satan  against 
mankind,  and  how  many  ways  he  shows  it  I  This, 
man's  duml)ness  was  the  effect  of  his  being /(o.sw  s.srrf 
•ivith  a  d'vil ;  but  it  was  bettr  he  should  be  unable 
to  say  an\-  thing,  than  be  forced  to  say,  as  those  de- 
moniacs did,  (ch.  8.  29.)  Ji' hat  have  ive  to  da  ii'itli 
thee?  Of  the  two,  bettera  dumb  devil  than  a  blas- 
])heming  one.  When  the  de\  il  gets  possession  of  a 
soul,  it  is  made  silent  as  to  any  thing  that  is  good  ; 
dumb  in  ]iravers  and  praises,  which  the  de\  il  is  a 
sworn  enemv  to.  This  poor  creature  they  brought 
to  Christ,  who  entertained  not  only  those  that  came 
of  themselves  in  their  own  faith,  but  those  that  were 
brought  to  him  by  their  friends  in  the  faith  of  other.s. 
Though  theju.ll  shall  lii'e  eternally  by  his  faith,  yet 
tempfind  mercies  may  be  bestowed  on  us  with  an 
eve  to  their  faith  who  are  intercessors  on  our  behalf. 
Thev  brought  liim  in  just  as  the  blind  man  -vent  out. 
See  how  unwearied  Christ  was  in  doing  good  ;  how 
closelv  one  good  wor.k  followed  another  !  Treasures 
of  mercy,  wondrous  mercy,  are  hid  in  him  ;  which 
may  be  continually  communicated,  but  can  never 
be  exhausted. 

2.  His  cure,  which  was  very  sudden,  (t.  33.) 
]\'hen  the  dn'il  tvas  cast  out,  the  dumb  sjiake.  Note, 
Christ's  cures  strike  at  the  root,  and  remove  the  ef- 
fect by  taking  away  the  cause  ;  they  open  the  lips, 
by  breaking  Satan's  power  in  the  soul.  In  sanctifi- 
cation  he  l\eals  the  waters  by  casting  salt  into  the 
spring.  When  Christ,  by  his  grace,  ca.its  the  dn'il 
'jitt  of  a  soul,  ])resenth-  the  dumb  s/ieaks.  \\  hen 
Paul  was  converted,  behold,  he  prays ;  then  the 
iiimh  s/iake, 

3.  The  consequences  of  this  cure. 

(1.)  'J'he  multitudes  marvelled ;  and  well  they 
might ;  though  few  beliei'ed,  many  ivondered.  The 
admiration  of  the  common  people  is  sooner  raised 
titan  an\'  other  affection.  It  was  foi-ctold,  that  the 
new  song,  the  New-Testament  song,  should  be  simg 
lor  marvellous  ivorki,  Ps.  98.  1.  They  said.  It  ivas 
lever  so  seen  in  Israel,  and  therefore  ne\ei-  so  seen 
mv  where  ;  for  no  peo))le  experienced  such  wonders 
.if  mercv  as  Israel  did.  There  had  been  those  in 
Israel  that  were  famous  for  working  miracles,  but 
Christ  excelled  them  all.  The  miracles  Moses 
wroui^ht,  had  reference  to  Israel  as  a  people,  but 
IMtrist's  were  "^mught  home  to  particular  persons. 


(2.)  The  Pharisees  blasphemed,  v.  "4.  \\hen 
they  could  not  gainsay  the  convincing  evidence  of 
these  miracles,  they  faihercd  them  upon  the  de\il, 
as  if  they  had  been  wrought  by  compact  and  collu- 
sion :  he  cusleth  out  dcvil.i  (say  they)  by  the  /iriuce 
of  the  devils — a  suggestion  horrid  beyond  expres- 
sion ;  we  shall  hear  more  of  it  afterwards,  and 
Chiist's  answer  to  it  ;  (cA.  12.  25.)  only  oliserve 
here,  how  tri/  men  and  seducers  ira.v  worse  and 
worse,  (2  Tim.  3.  13.)  and  it  is  both  their  sin  and 
their  punishment.  '1  heir  quarrels  with  Christ  for 
taking  upon  him  to  forgive  sm,  {v.  3.)  {or  convrrsing 
with  /luolicans  and  sinners,  (x'.  11.)  for  not  fasting, 
{v.  14.)  though  spiteful  enough,  yet  had  sonu-  rol(  ur 
of  piety,  purity,  and  devotion  in  them  ;  Init  this 
(which  they  are  left  to,  to  jHinish  them  for  those,) 
l)reathcs  nothing  hut  malice  and  falsehood,  and  hell- 
isli  enmity  in  the  highest  degree  ;  it  is  diabolism  all 
over,  and  was  therefore  justly  pronounced  uniiar- 
donable.  Because  the  people  mar\  elled,  they  must 
say  something  to  diminish  tlic  miracle,  and  this  was 
all  they  could  say. 

35.  And  Jesus  went  about  all  the  cities 
and  villages,  teaching  in  their  synagogues, 
and  preaching  the  gospel  of  tlie  kingdom 
and  healing  every  sickness  and  every  dis- 
ease among  the  people.  .30.  l^)Ut  \\  hen  lie 
saw  the  multitudes,  he  was  mo\ed  N\ith 
compassion  on  them,  because  they  lainttxl, 
and  were  scattered  abroad,  as  slieep  hav- 
ing no  shepherd.  37.  Then  saith  he  unto 
his  disciples.  The  haiTCst  truly  is  plenteous, 
but  the  labourers  arc  few  :  38.  Pray  ve 
therefore  the  Lord  of  the  harvest,  that,  lie 
will  send  forth  labourers  into  the  harvest. 

Here  is, 

I.  A  conclusion  of  the  foregoing  account  o''  Chn^t's 
preaching  and  miracles  ;  (7'.  35.)  He  went  liout  aL 
the  cities  leaching  and  healing.  I'his  is  the  same  we 
had  before,  ch.  4.  23.  There  it  ushers  in  the  more 
particular  record  of  Christ's  preaching,  {ch.  5.  6. 
and  7.)  and  of  his  cures,  {ch.  8.  and  9.)  and  here  it 
is  elegantly  repeated  in  the  close  of  these  instances, 
as  the  (/uod  erat  demonstrandum — the  fioint  to  be 
prox'ed ;  as  if  the  ev  angelist  should  .say ,  "  Now  I 
hope  I  have  made  it  out,  by  an  induction  of  parti- 
culars, that  Christ  preached  and  healed  ;  for  you 
have  had  the  heads  of  his  sermons,  and  some  few 
instances  of  his  cures,  which  were  wrought  to  con- 
firm his  doctrine  ;  and  these  were  written  that  you 
might  belin'e."  Some  think  that  this  w'as  a  second 
perambulation  in  Galilee,  like  the  former  ;  he  visit- 
ed again  those  whom  he  had  before  preached  to. 
Though  the  Pharisees  cavilled  at  him  and  o])])osed 
him,  he  went  on  with  his  work  ;  he  Jireached  the 
gosfiel  of  the  kingdom.  He  told  them  (jf  a  kingdom 
of  grace  and  glory,  now  to  be  set  up  luiiler  the  go- 
vernment of  a  Mediator  :  this  was  gospel  indeed, 
good  neivs,  glad  tidings  of  great  joy. 

Observe  how  Christ  in  his  preaching  had  respect, 

1.  To  the  private  towns.  He  visited  not  only  the 
great  and  wealthy  cities,  but  the  ])oor,  obscure  vil- 
lages ;  there  he  preached,  there  he  healtd.  The 
souls  of  those  that  are  meanest  in  the  world  are  as 
precious  to  Christ,  and  should  be  to  us,  as  the  souls 
of  those  that  make  the  greatest  figure.  Fich  and 
/loor  meet  together  in  him,  citizens  and  brors  :  his 
righteous  acts  toward  the  inhabitants  cf  h  s  village! 
must  be  rehearsed,  Judg.  5.  1 1. 

2.  To  the  p'liljlic  worship.  He  taueh :  in  then 
sunagogues,  (1.)  Thr.t  he  mi^ht  berr  a  testinu  iiy  t( 
solemn  assemblies,  even  then  when  there  were  cor 


108 


ST.  MATTHEW,  IX. 


mptions  in  them.  We  must  not  fjraukc  llit  asaein- 
bting  ofour^i'tvas  together,  us  the  inunner  of  some  is. 
(2.)  That  lie  aiiglit  ha\e  an  opponuiiity  of  pi-e;iich- 
ing  there,  where  people  were  gathered  togetlier, 
with  an  expectation  to  hear.  Thus,  even  where  the 
gospel-church  was  founded,  and  christian  meetings 
erected,  the  apostles  often  Jireached  in  the  syna- 
gogues of  the  Jews.  It  is  the  wisdom  of  the  prudent, 
to  make  the  best  of  that  which  is. 

11.  A  preface,  or  introduction,  to  the  account  in 
the  following  chapter,  of  his  sending  forth  his  apos- 
tles. He  took  notice  of  the  multitude;  (ti.  36.)  not 
only  of  the  crowds  tlvdi  fol/oTved  him,  but  of  the  vast 
numbers  of  people  with  whom  (as  he  passed  along) 
he  observed  the  country  to  be  replenished  ;  he  no- 
ticed what  nests  of  souls  the  towns  and  cities  were, 
and  how  thick  of  inhabitants ;  what  abundance  of 
people  there  were  in  every  synagogue,  and  what 
places  of  concourse  the  openings  of  the  gates  were  : 
so  very  populous  was  that  nation  now  grown  ;  and  it 
was  the  effect  of  God's  blessing  on  Al)raham.  See- 
ing this, 

1.  He  pitied  them,  and  was  concerned  for  them  ; 
(v.  36.)  He  ivas  moved  ivith  compassion  on  them ; 
not  upon  a  temporal  account,  as  he  pitied  the  blind, 
and  lame,  and  sick  ;  but  upon  a  spiritual  account ; 
he  was  concerjied  to  see  them  ignorant  and  careless, 
and  ready  to  perish  for  lack  of  vision.  Note,  Jesus 
Christ  is  a  \ery  compassionate  Friend  to  precious 
souls  ;  here  his  bowels  do  in  a  s])ecial  manner  yearn. 
It  was  pity  to  souls  that  brought  him  from  heaven 
to  earth,  and  there  to  the  cross.  Miserv  is  the  ob- 
ject of  merc>- ;  and  the  miseries  of  sinful,  self-de- 
stro\ing  souls,  are  the  greatest  miseries :  Christ  pi- 
ties those  most  that  pity  themselves  least ;  so  should 
we.  The  most  christian  compassion  is  compassion 
to  souls;  it  is  most  Christ-like. 

Sec  what  nr)ved  this  pitv.  (1.)  They  fainted ; 
they  were  destitute,  vexed,  wearied.  Thi  y  strayed, 
so  some  ;  were  loosed  one  from  another  ;  The  staff  of 
bands  ivas  Aro/cen,  Xech.  11.  14.  They  wanted  nelj) 
for  their  sml'^,  and  had  none  at  hand  that  was  good 
for  any  thin^.  The  Scribes  and  Pharisees  filled 
them  with  vani  notions,  burdened  them  with  the  tra- 
ditions of  the  ctners,  deluded  t..cm  into  manv  mis- 
takes, while  they  were  not  instructed  in  their  duty, 
nor  acquainted  with  the  extent  and  spiritual  nature 
">f  the  di\ine  law  ;  therefore  they  fainted ;  for  what 
spiritual  health,  and  life,  and  vigour  can  there  be  in 
those  souls,  that  are  fed  with  husks  and  ashes,  in- 
stead of  the  bread  of  life  ?  Precious  souls  fuint  when 
duty  is  to  be  done,  temptations  to  be  resisted,  afflic- 
tions to  be  borne,  being  not  nourished  up  with  the 
word  of  truth.  (2. )  They  irere  scattered  abroad,  as 
"heefi  having  no  she/iherd.  That  expression  is  bor- 
rowed from  1  Kings  22.  17.  and  it  sets  forth  the  sad 
condition  of  those  that  are  destitute  of  faithful  guides 
to  go  before  them  in  the  things  of  God.  No  crea- 
ture is  more  apt  to  go  astray  than  a  sheep,  and  when 
gone  astray,  more  helpless,  shiftless,  and  exposed, 
or  more  unapt  V^  find  the  wav  home  again :  sinful 
souls  are  as  lost  shee/i ;  they  need  the  care  of  shep- 
herds to  bring  tlicm  back.  The  teachers  the  Jews 
then  had,  pretended  to  be  shepherds,  yet  Christ  says 
they  had  no  shepherds,  for  they  were  woi-se  than 
none  ;  idol-shepherds  that  led  them  away,  instead  of 
leading  them  b  ick,  and  fleeced  the  flock,  instead  of 
feeding  it :  such  shepherds  as  were  described,  Jer. 
23.  1,  &c.  Ezek.  24.  3,  &c.  Note,  The  case  of  those 
people  is  verv  pitiable,  who  either  have  no  ministers 
.tt  all,  or  those  that  are  as  bad  as  none ;  that  seek 
their  own  things,  not  the  things  of  Christ  and  souls. 

2.  He  excited  his  disciples  to  prav  for  them.  His 
pitv  put  him  upon  devising  means  for  the  good  of 
these  people.  It  appears,  (Luke  6.  12,  13.)  that  upon 
this  occasion,  before  he  sent  out  his  apostles,  he  did 
himself  spend  a  great  deal  of  time  in  prayer.  Note, 


Thi.se  v/e  pity  we  should  pray  for.  Having  spoken 
to  Gud  f^r  iheiii,  he  turns  to  his  disciples,  luid  tells 
them, 

(1.)  How  the  case  stood;  (v.  37.)  Tlie  han<est 
truly  IS  jil